Poll: 62 percent of voters say Putin wouldn't have invaded Ukraine if Trump were president

A majority of American voters say that Russian President Vladimir Putin would not have invaded Ukraine had former President Trump still been in office, according to a new survey released on Friday.

A new Harvard Center for American Political Studies (CAPS)-Harris Poll survey released Friday found that 62 percent of those polled believed Putin would not be moving against Ukraine if Trump had been president. When looking strictly at the answers of Democrats and Republicans, 85 percent of Republicans and 38 percent of Democrats answered this way.

However, 38 percent of all Americans polled believed that Putin would have invaded Ukraine even if Trump had been president.

A majority of Americans polled — 59 percent — also said they believed that the Russian president moved on Ukraine because Putin saw weakness in President Biden, while 41 percent said that it was not a factor in Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine.

Soon after Russia invaded Ukraine late Wednesday, President Biden condemned what he described as an "unprovoked and unjustified attack" and expressed solidarity with Ukraine. The U.S. has imposed sanctions on Russian financial institutions, Russian elites and their family members, the Nord Stream 2 AG — the parent company of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline — and, the White House confirmed Friday, Putin himself, among other entities.

However, the U.S. has resisted calls to kick Russia out of the SWIFT international banking system, despite appeals from Ukrainian officials and some U.S. lawmakers.

The polling comes after Biden has suffered low approval ratings in recent months. Since taking office, the president has had to navigate a multitude of issues, including a lingering COVID-19 pandemic, a chaotic evacuation from Afghanistan, infighting among Democrats over the administration's legislative agenda and now the invasion of Ukraine.

The Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll survey was conducted between Feb. 23 and Feb. 24 with 2,026 registered voters. The survey is an online sample drawn from the Harris Panel and weighted to reflect known demographics. As a representative online sample, it does not report a probability confidence interval.

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