The survey, conducted on April 4 by Redfield & Wilton Strategies, was commissioned by Newsweek with 1,500 U.S. respondents, found widespread support for NATO expansion through Ukraine’s accession and increased U.S. participation in the alliance, despite calls for a focus on the Asia-Pacific region because of the standoff with China.
The majority of Americans surveyed supported Ukraine’s desire to join NATO, with 30% strongly supporting and 25% expressing simple support. Only one in ten was against or strongly against (5% each), 26% were indifferent, and 7% did not answer.
Respondents reported that protecting Ukraine is important to American national interests, with 27% strongly agreeing and 29% agreeing. Twenty-two percent of respondents disagreed, 7% opposed, 5% strongly opposed, and 9% did not respond.
Ukrainian leaders see NATO’s Article 5 on collective defense as the only defense against Russian aggression. This position is widely supported by Ukrainian voters, and the desire to join the alliance is enshrined in the Ukrainian Constitution.
For a long time, Kyiv was denied even a NATO Membership Action Plan for fear of provoking retaliation from Russian President Vladimir Putin. After 2014, the goal was to avoid direct conflict with Russian troops and local proxies occupying Crimea and parts of eastern Ukraine.
Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine has re-emerged the issue of Ukraine’s membership in NATO, although it is considered unlikely that the alliance members will agree to accept Kyiv while the country is at war with Russia. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that Ukraine will join the bloc one day, but emphasized that this is a “long-term” proposal.
James Rogers, co-founder and director of research at the UK Council on Geostrategy, told Newsweek that the “overwhelming majority in favor of NATO’s expansion to Ukraine” is particularly notable in the context of the political debate over the proposal.