POLITICS: PennAve

Poll: Plurality backs Obama's handling of Ukraine crisis

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Politics,White House,Barack Obama,Russia,Polls,National Security,PennAve,Meghashyam Mali,Foreign Policy,Sanctions,Ukraine,Crimea

Americans back Obama's handling of the crisis in Ukraine by a slight margin, according to a new CNN poll released Monday.

Forty-eight percent said they approve of how Obama is managing the standoff over Russia's seizure of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula, with 43 percent disapproving. Nine percent said they were unsure of how to rate his performance.

But the poll also found strong support for U.S. economic sanctions against Russia, which 59 percent favor.

Other measures are less popular, with a majority opposing economic aid to Ukraine by a 52 percent to 46 percent split. The poll found that only 40 percent back canceling the G8 summit meeting to be held in Sochi, Russia, in June, with 6 in 10 opposing.

Military action has even less support, with 17 percent in favor of U.S. air strikes and 12 percent supporting the use of ground troops.

The Obama administration has already suspended planning meetings for the Sochi talks and last week the president signed an order allowing for targeted sanctions against individuals found to be undermining democracy in Ukraine. But the administration has yet to designate any individuals for sanctions.

The U.S. and European Union are also offering the interim government in Kiev loans to stabilize their economy and ease pressure from Russia, a major trading partner and energy supplier for Ukraine.

Obama will meet with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk at the White House on Wednesday as he looks for a diplomatic resolution.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has rejected calls to pull back military forces which seized control of Crimea. Reports say the pro-Russian government in Crimea is also going ahead with plans to hold a referendum on leaving Ukraine and joining Russia.

Overall, Obama’s approval rating is still underwater with 43 percent approving and 53 percent disapproving. That’s a slight downward tick from last month when when Obama had a 45 percent approval rating overall and a 50 percent disapproval.

The CNN poll was conducted from March 7 to 9 and has a 3.5-percent margin of error.

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