New polling suggests that at least some Americans are taking particular notice of President Joe Biden’s leadership amid the ongoing conflict stemming from Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent invasion of Ukraine. As Biden recently explained the U.S. response to the war, “Shipments of defensive weapons are arriving in Ukraine every day from the United States, and we, the United States, are the ones coordinating the delivery from our allies and partners of similar weapons — from Germany to Finland to the Netherlands… We are enforcing the most significant package of economic sanctions in history, and it’s causing significant damage to Russia’s economy.” A NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist survey whose results were released after Biden’s recent State of the Union address, found Biden’s overall approval up by eight percent compared to the prior week.
As explained by those behind that survey, “President Biden’s overall job approval rating is up 8 points, 47% from 39%, last week. 50%, down from 55%, disapprove. 18% strongly approve of the job Biden is doing as president, and 38% strongly disapprove.” That survey also found that a majority of Americans expressed approval for Biden’s handling of the crisis in Ukraine. As the pollsters summarized: “A majority of Americans (52%) approve of how President Biden is handling the situation in Ukraine, up from 34% last week. 44% disapprove, down from 50% last time. Only 4% are unsure, down from 16%.” It would appear, then, that — according to this survey, at least — most Americans haven’t taken to heart the GOP line about Biden somehow bearing responsibility for the Ukraine war. As Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) insisted just this weekend, “Biden’s weakness was displayed for all the world to see with his embarrassing failures in Afghanistan. This is why, Putin invaded Ukraine, Iran is firing missiles at our consulate in Iraq, & China is dominating.”
In reality, sobering tragedies such as the deaths of 13 U.S. service members in a bombing attack that unfolded in conjunction with last year’s U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan did not constitute the whole story. The Biden administration was also involved with the evacuation of over 120,000 people from Afghanistan around that time — a historically expansive evacuation operation. Meanwhile, other recent polls found a smaller but still present uptick in Biden’s overall approval. “Specifically, Biden’s approval rating stood at about 42% in an average of all the pollsters who did a post-Russian invasion poll. These same pollsters had Biden’s approval rating at 40% in their polls taken before the invasion,” a recent CNN report explained.
Biden is, amid the Ukraine crisis, standing up to Putin as Trump has refused to do — in a recent speech, Trump spoke as though you’ve somehow got to hand it to Putin for the Ukraine invasion. “The problem is not that Putin is smart, which, of course, he’s smart… The problem is that our leaders are dumb… and so far, allowed him to get away with this travesty and assault on humanity,” Trump recently said. (The assault on humanity language doesn’t sound like Trump’s handiwork.)