Americans support aggressive response by U.S. if Russia uses nuclear weapon

nuclear conflagration

Americans maintain a high level of concern over the war in Ukraine and are likely to support an aggressive response by the U.S. and its allies if Russia were to use a nuclear weapon there, according to a report published by the Covid States Project that includes a team of researchers from Northeastern.

The recent release of the report comes at a time when the U.S. is preparing to send $4.5 billion in direct budgetary support to the government of Ukraine through the World Bank by the end of 2022.

The Biden administration has also requested that Congress allocate almost $38 billion in emergency aid to Ukraine in 2023.

The report titled American Attitudes Towards Russia’s Invasion Of Ukraine published last week is based on a survey of 26,161 individuals conducted between Oct. 6 and Nov. 9 across all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The Covid States Project, a collaboration between Northeastern University, Harvard University, Rutgers University and Northwestern University, organized the survey.

Despite being featured less in popular news media, Americans remain concerned about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with 78% reporting that they are either somewhat or very concerned.

In response to a hypothetical Russian use of nuclear weapons, there was broad bipartisan agreement for an aggressive response, even if it meant more direct NATO or American involvement.

President Joe Biden recently said the world is closer to a nuclear conflagration than at any time since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

While Democrats are more concerned about the Russian invasion of Ukraine than Republicans and independents, strong majorities in all three groups report being concerned. Majorities of Republicans, Democrats, and independents across every age group are concerned about the invasion.

In the event of a Russian nuclear attack, Republicans and Democrats both indicated support for tightening economic sanctions, increasing military aid to Ukraine, launching missile strikes aimed at taking out nuclear weapons that Russia could use on the battlefield in Ukraine, establishing a NATO-led no fly zone in Ukraine, and sending NATO troops to Ukraine. Very few indicated support for withdrawing all military aid from Ukraine.

Americans across all age groups are concerned about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but especially those 65 and older, where an overwhelming majority is concerned.

Women are more likely than men to report being concerned over the invasion. Specifically, Republican and independent women are significantly more likely than Republican and independent men to report being concerned about the Russian invasion. Even so, concern among men is still high, with 75% reporting being somewhat or very concerned about the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Majorities of Americans across different levels of education all report concern over the invasion, but more highly-educated individuals are more likely to report being very concerned.

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