Washington

Most Voters Disapprove of Biden’s Handling of Foreign Policy, but He’s Getting Better Marks on Ukraine

37% of voters approve of Biden’s handling of foreign policy, roughly matching his standing at the height of the Afghanistan withdrawal

President Joe Biden delivers remarks Tuesday on developments in Ukraine and Russia, and announces sanctions against Russia, from the East Room of the White House. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

As the crisis on Russia’s border with Ukraine intensified over the weekend, a new Morning Consult/Politico survey found voters’ perceptions of President Joe Biden’s handling of foreign policy slightly improved over February. And while voters are divided over his handling of the Ukraine crisis, he’s getting better marks for it than he did for his administration’s handling of its last high-profile foreign policy emergency in Afghanistan.

Biden’s Foreign Policy Approach Gets Slightly Better Marks From Voters as Ukraine Crisis Escalates

Voters were asked whether they approve or disapprove of Biden’s handling of foreign policy

Surveys conducted among a representative sample of roughly 2,000 registered U.S. voters each, with an unweighted margin of error of +/-2 percentage points. Figures may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

What the numbers say

  • Thirty-seven percent of voters approve of Biden’s handling of foreign policy, up 3 percentage points from a low in Morning Consult/Politico tracking reached a month ago, while 52 percent disapprove, roughly in line with figures in surveys conducted since his administration’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan.
  • Two-thirds of Democrats approve of Biden’s handling of foreign policy, matching figures in a survey conducted the first week of February, while the share of Republicans who disapprove fell 6 points over the same time period, to 82 percent.

The context

The survey fielded after a week of last-minute diplomacy between American and European diplomats and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government, but was mostly completed before the Kremlin ordered troops into eastern Ukraine. 

While at least half of voters said they’d seen, read or heard at least “some” about the Biden administration’s diplomatic outreach that preceded Moscow’s breach of Ukraine’s border, such as the president’s speech last week warning Russia not to invade Ukraine or Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s alert of Russian plans for an imminent invasion, the salience of those stories was relatively weak: Fewer than 1 in 5 Americans said they’d heard a lot.

At this stage of the crisis, voters are split on Biden’s handling of Ukraine.

Biden Gets Mixed Marks for His Administration’s Handling of Ukraine Crisis

Voters were asked whether they approve or disapprove of how the following are handling the conflict between Ukraine and Russia:

Survey conducted Feb. 19-21, 2022, among a representative sample of 2,005 registered U.S. voters, with an unweighted margin of error of +/-2 percentage points. Figures may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

What else you should know

  • Two in 5 voters approve of Biden’s handling of the Ukraine crisis, while 45 percent disapprove. The numbers are better than perceptions of his handling of Afghanistan at the dawn of that crisis, when 51 percent disapproved and 31 percent approved.
  • As sanctions legislation remains stalled on Capitol Hill, voters are more likely to disapprove than approve, 38 percent to 31 percent, of how Congress is dealing with the situation, though 31 percent said they didn’t know.
  • If Russia were to invade, half of voters said they would hold Biden responsible, compared with 39 percent who would blame Congress, 43 percent who would blame NATO and 80 percent who would blame Putin. 

The latest Morning Consult/Politico survey was conducted Feb. 19-21, 2022, among a representative sample of 2,005 registered U.S. voters, with an unweighted margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

Morning Consult