Many Americans are convinced that Russia was at least partially responsible for the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 last week, a new HuffPost/YouGov poll shows. But even if it's proven that Russia or pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine were involved, Americans say they would favor sanctions and diplomacy over military options.
Asked to choose who they believed to be responsible for the crash, 48 percent of Americans said pro-Russian Ukrainian separatists were involved, while 33 percent said the Russian military was involved. Nine percent said they believed the Ukrainian military was involved.
In a follow-up question, 46 percent of Americans said they believed the Russian government or military was in some way responsible, while only 14 percent said it was not.
A CNN poll released Monday also found widespread suspicion of Russia, showing that 34 percent of Americans believe Russia was directly responsible for the crash, while another 51 percent think it was indirectly responsible.
But the new HuffPost/YouGov poll shows that Americans largely want to stay out of the conflict. In a question asked prior to any mention of the plane crash, most respondents said that the United States should not get involved in the dispute between Russia and Ukraine, by a 52 percent to 18 percent margin.
Even if it's shown for certain that Russia or Russian-backed separatists were responsible for the crash, sanctions against Russia were the most popular option, supported by 42 percent of Americans. Thirty-three percent said they would favor holding diplomatic negotiations with Russia, and 22 percent supported economic aid to Ukraine.
Military options were far less popular. Only 15 percent said they would favor providing weapons to Ukraine, and only 10 percent said they would favor air strikes against areas held by separatists. Just 5 percent would support sending ground troops to Ukraine.
Respondents who were asked a similar question earlier in the poll, before any mention of the plane crash, were slightly less likely to support military options and slightly more likely to support diplomacy, but overall responses changed only marginally when respondents were asked to consider the crash as a factor.
The HuffPost/YouGov poll was conducted July 19-21 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.