04 April 2014

Whatever It Is, They’re Against It

This week Quinnipiac University released one of its regular polls of Americans’ views on political issues. As most people would expect, this survey showed a stark partisan divide on most issues.

Among the Republicans surveyed, 74% disapprove of the way President Barack Obama is “handling the situation with Russia and Ukraine.” Of course, since 93% of them disapprove of how he’s generally doing the job of President, Republicans actually think that’s one of the better aspects of the current administration.

Sixty percent of all Republicans think the President is not being “tough enough” on Russia. Yet the same group is almost evenly split on whether it’s more important for the US “to take a firm stand” (47%) or “not get too involved” (42%). And 84% of Republicans, a slightly higher portion than of Americans overall, are “very” or “somewhat concerned” that “the current situation in Ukraine will develop into a larger regional conflict that could lead to the U.S. military getting involved.”

How can the US be tougher, take a firm stand, but not get too involved and definitely not end up in a larger military conflict? That dilemma should puzzle anyone. The survey found 69% of Republicans agreeing on a measure: “imposing economic sanctions on Russia for its actions involving Ukraine.” That’s the approach that President Obama is taking, but of course 74% of those Republicans disapprove of how he’s doing that. The survey didn’t ask about any stronger measures, probably because no one—even in the Republican Party—has come up with any to advocate in a concerted way.

Sixty percent of Republicans agree that “inaction on the part of the administration when chemical weapons were used in Syria conveyed weakness to President Vladimir Putin thus emboldening him in Ukraine.” Of course, Republicans and many of their representatives in Congress did a sudden turnaround back in August 2013 and disapproved when President Obama proposed military action against Syria.

To be fair, President Obama isn’t the only thing that Republicans are at odds with themselves on. A clear majority—58%—disapprove of how the Republicans in Congress are handling their job.

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