Americans Conflicted About Which NATO Countries They'd Defend From Russia: Poll

Russia's Prime Minister and presidential candidate Vladimir Putin smiles as visits his campaign staff in Moscow, late on Marc
Russia's Prime Minister and presidential candidate Vladimir Putin smiles as visits his campaign staff in Moscow, late on March 4, 2012. Putin reclaimed today the Kremlin in a crushing presidential election victory that he declared was honest but the opposition said was undermined by serial violations.AFP PHOTO/ RIA-NOVOSTI POOL/ ALEXEY DRUZHININ (Photo credit should read ALEXEY DRUZHININ/AFP/Getty Images)

While most Americans broadly say the U.S. should honor its obligation to defend NATO allies from a hypothetical Russian threat, they are less likely to say that some individual NATO nations are worth defending, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll.

The survey found that 60 percent of respondents supported maintaining the commitment to defend NATO allies. Just 17 percent deemed such support to be no longer necessary, while 23 percent were not sure.

However, that principle did not necessarily translate into a desire to defend individual countries, including some NATO members. While a majority of the public supported defending Britain from a Russian attack, less than half of respondents were in favor of coming to the aid of other countries. Support for defending France and Poland was 48 percent and 40 percent, respectively. Only 20 percent to 29 percent supported defending Latvia, Turkey and Ukraine.

Of those nations, only Ukraine is not a NATO member, though the survey did not inform respondents which countries are members.

According to the survey, older voters were more likely than younger voters to favor military action in each country. The poll also found a disparity between Republicans and Democrats in terms of intervention. Republicans were more likely than Democrats or independents to favor military action in each country except Turkey and Ukraine.

The HuffPost/YouGov poll was conducted March 27-30 among 1,000 U.S. adults using a sample selected from YouGov's opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population. Factors considered include age, race, gender, education, employment, income, marital status, number of children, voter registration, time and location of Internet access, interest in politics, religion and church attendance.

The Huffington Post has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov's nationally representative opinion polling.



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