A new poll found that a majority of Americans agree with NATO’s decision not to enforce a no-fly zone over Ukraine due to concerns that it would lead to a direct conflict with Russia.
The Quinnipiac poll of nearly 2,000 U.S. adults, conducted between March 10-14, also found that three fourths of Americans want the U.S. to supply aid to Ukraine, as long as it did not put the country at risk of war with Russia.
According to the poll, a clear majority, 54%, agreed with NATO’s continued refusal to enforce a no-fly zone, while just 32% disagreed, and 15% had no opinion. Majorities of Democrats and Independents, 58% to 30% and 57% to 30%, respectively, agreed with NATO, while a plurality of Republicans, 47% to 38%, also agreed.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has repeatedly asked the U.S. and its NATO allies to provide a no-fly zone over Ukraine. The Daily Wire reported:
“Russia has turned the Ukrainian sky into a source of death for thousands of people,” Zelensky continued. “Russian troops have already fired nearly 1,000 missiles at Ukraine, countless bombs. They use drones to kill us with precision. This is a terror that Europe has not seen, has not seen for 80 years and we are asking for a reply, for an answer to this terror from the whole world.”
“To create a no-fly zone over Ukraine to save people, is this too much to ask?” Zelensky asked.
But members of Congress from both parties have warned that enforcing a no-fly zone would lead to war with Russia. Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio recently told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that a no-fly zone would mean flying planes fitted with Airborne Early Warning and Control systems (AEWCs or AWACs) over Ukraine, as well as engaging Russian aircraft and attacking Russian anti-aircraft positions, not just in Ukraine, but in Russia itself, which would inevitably result in war breaking out. “So basically a no-fly zone — if people understood what it means, it means World War III,” Rubio said.
Democratic New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez issued the same stark warning in an Instagram story Wednesday. “Declaring a no-fly zone is essentially tantamount to a declaration of war,” AOC said. “So if you’re not comfortable with the United States declaring war against Russia, you’re probably not comfortable with a no-fly zone.”
— Mariam Jalloul (@MariamJalloul_) March 17, 2022
While a majority of Americans did not support a no-fly zone, a supermajority of Americans did support sending aid to Ukraine, so long as it did not risk war with Russia. Three-fourths of respondents, 75%, said they would support giving aid if it did not risk war, while 17% said they would support giving aid even if it did risk war. Just 5% said the U.S. should not give aid, and 4% were undecided.
Quinnipiac was not the only poll that found strong opposition for a no-fly zone. A Yahoo News/YouGov survey of more than 1,600 U.S. adults conducted during the same time period asked respondents: “Would you support or oppose the U.S. enforcing a no-fly zone over Ukraine, which would mean the U.S. military would shoot down Russian military planes flying over Ukraine, possibly triggering a war between the U.S. and Russia?” With that definition, a plurality of respondents, 43%, opposed a no-fly zone, just 23% supported it, and 34% were unsure.