Russian Invasion Of Ukraine; The Rally-Around-The-Flag Effect Affords Biden A Jump In Approval Rating

In News
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The Russian invasion of Ukraine is unfolding in ways that no European war has ever done. According to a recent poll, most Americans (71%) support an embargo on Russian oil imports into the United States. This cohort comprised the overwhelming majority of Democrats, Republicans, and independents.

In Summary

• Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has changed global and domestic public opinion. According to a Marist College/NPR/PBS NewsHour poll, President Joe Biden’s approval rating increased by 5 points or more in response to the invasion.

• According to pollster Marist, Biden’s approval rating may have increased somewhat. Biden receives a higher approval rating for handling the Ukraine situation than for his overall job rating.

• The rally-around-the-flag effect is typically modest during international crises that do not result in a full-fledged war involving the US. Americans are more bothered with inflation and the economy these days.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is evolving on social media and television in fashions that no other European war has ever been. The entire world witnessed the violence and tragedy of Europe’s largest war since World War II.

The invasion shaped and reshaped global and domestic perceptions of Russia, Ukraine, and even political leaders who were not actively involved in the conflict. It has also affected gas prices.

With that account, let us look closely at how domestically events have evolved. To begin, let us consider President Joe Biden’s popularity.

Invasion
KYIV, UKRAINE – 2022/03/14: A soldier and a man look the missile crater in front of civilian homes that came from a Russian shelling attack. Russian forces have escalated their invasion of Ukraine to a full-fledged invasion. To date, their offensive has displaced up to 2 million people, sparking worldwide condemnation and protest. [COURTESY]

Russia’s Invasion Of Ukraine Affords Biden A Small “Rally Around The Flag” Bump

Before the end of February, Biden’s approval rating was at a record low. Russia invaded Ukraine shortly thereafter, and Biden made his State of the Union address.

According to some polling primarily from Marist College/NPR/PBS NewsHour, Biden’s approval rating soared by at least five points in reaction. Evaluating all polls conducted after the Russian invasion indicates that Biden received a marginal boost, but not the sizable surge Marist demonstrated.

Notably, Biden’s approval rating was 42% in an average poll conducted post-Russian invasion by all pollsters. These same pollsters placed Biden’s approval rating at 40% in their pre-invasion polls.

Biden’s surge seems logical since his approval rating for his crisis handling is greater than his overall job approval rating. His overall approval rating stood at 38% in a recent Quinnipiac University poll, while his disapproval rating stood at 51%. According to the same poll, Biden’s approval rating for handling Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was 42%, while his disapproval rating was 45%.

Nonetheless, Biden is on the losing side of things, and his total disapproval rating is around 51%, resulting in a net approval rating of -9 points.

Invasion
A consumer browses goods at a stall within Grand Central Market in downtown Los Angeles, California, on March 11, 2022. Consumer prices in the United States reached a new 40-year high in February 2022, as the world’s largest economy continues to be rocked by a surge of inflation, which is projected to aggravate as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. [COURTESY]

Inflation and the economy are major themes.

Biden receiving a slight boost would be consistent with past research on the rally-around-the-flag effect. However, they are often small during international crises that do not include a full-fledged war involving the US.

Additionally, most polling indicates that Americans are considerably more concerned about inflation and the economy than they are about this war. Anything that raises Americans’ spending-such as rising gasoline prices may have a detrimental effect on Biden’s approval.

Yet the most pressing question is what happens next. Biden’s support rating fell precipitously following the US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. Americans did not appreciate the withdrawal, and the initial polling loss accelerated in the weeks and months following Biden’s decision.

It’s possible that any increase in Biden’s ratings now may continue to rise in the coming weeks and months.

Of course, Biden’s marginal bounce may be transitory.

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