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Escalating Russia-Ukraine Conflict Sparks Nuclear War Anxiety In Americans: Golden/TIPP

73% fear the conflict may deteriorate into a nuclear war.

Nearly seven out of ten Americans are concerned that the conflict between Russia and Ukraine will lead to the use of nuclear weapons, a Golden/TIPP Poll of 1,365 Americans nationwide completed on Friday showed. 73% expressed concern that the conflict may morph into a nuclear war.

The online survey was conducted from March 29 to 31.

The survey’s credibility interval (CI) is +/- 2.8 percentage points, meaning the study is accurate to within ± 2.8 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Americans been surveyed.

The survey asked respondents: “How concerned are you that the conflict between Russia and Ukraine will lead to the use of nuclear weapons?” The results read as follows:

  • 34% were very concerned,
  • 39% were somewhat concerned,
  • 15% were not very concerned,
  • 6% were not at all concerned, and
  • 6% were not sure

We have been asking the same question each month since January. In January, 67% were concerned, and 27% were not.

The data shows a six-point increase in concern since January.

Those “very concerned” rose from 26% in January to 34% in April, while those “somewhat concerned” slipped from 41% in January to 39% in April.

Context

Last week President Putin revealed his plans to station tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus. A weapons storage facility under construction will be completed by July 1. Belarus shares borders with NATO members Lithuania and Lativa to the North and Poland to the West.

Also, the START treaty between the U.S. and Russia is going through a rough patch. Moscow suspended its participation in the New START nuclear arms treaty in February. Recently, it was announced that the two countries would stop exchanging detailed information regarding their nuclear weapon stockpiles.

NATO and its allies have started to deliver tanks to Ukraine. In January, Kyiv’s allies agreed to send more than 300 tanks to fight the Russian onslaught. The U.S. had promised to provide 31 M1 Abrams tanks, while Germany agreed to hand over 14 Leopard 2 A6s.

This week the Wagner Group claimed to have taken over the city of Bakhmut. Much of the mining city has been destroyed by Russian bombing. Ukraine has scorned the reports saying their troops have “repelled more than 20 enemy attacks.”

Under The Hood

The survey showed that the concern of the war becoming nuclear is shared universally across party and ideological divides. In April, 76% of Democrats, 76% of Republicans, and 63% of independents are concerned. Note that fear among Republicans has increased from 63% in January to 76% in April, a whopping 13-point rise.

The chart below shows that the data is remarkably stable over time. Please note that although the previous charts indicated an overall concern rate of 73%, the charts below show 72% due to rounding of the figures.

Ideologically, concerns were the highest among conservatives (78%), followed by liberals (71%) and moderates (70%). The data shows a sharp increase among conservatives from 64% in January to 78% in April.

Worries about a nuclear war increased with age.

  • 67% of the 18 to 24 age group are concerned
  • 73% of the 25 to 44 age group are concerned
  • 74% of the 45 to 24 age group are concerned
  • 73% of those 65 or older are concerned

As noted in a recent editorial, we are fighting a war against Russia in Ukraine. NATO is actively confronting Russia.

Americans’ concerns are rightly placed. After a year of fighting, the high-pitch Russian rhetoric, matched by the West’s aggressive actions, points to more aggression than an end to the conflict.

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