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Nearly half of American voters think the US is spending too much on aid for Ukraine, according to a poll that underscores the fragility of domestic support just as Volodymyr Zelenskyy prepares to visit Washington to lobby for more funding.
The latest FT-Michigan Ross poll found that 48 per cent believed the US was spending “too much” in military and financial aid to bolster Kyiv’s war effort against Russia, compared with 27 per cent who said Washington was spending the “right amount” and 11 per cent who said the US was not spending enough.
Opposition was particularly pronounced among Republicans, with 65 per cent saying the US was spending too much in Ukraine, compared with roughly half — 52 per cent — of independents and just a third — 32 per cent — of Democrats.
The findings come as Biden struggles to cajole a sharply divided Congress into approving a sweeping $111bn security spending package that would include about $60bn for Kyiv, as well as funding for Israel and Taiwan.
It also comes as Zelenskyy is due to visit Washington for a meeting with Biden on Tuesday to “underscore the United States’ unshakeable commitment” to the country’s war effort, according to the White House.
The poll also paints a stark picture for pro-Ukraine Republicans in Congress, who are struggling to find a compromise that would get the funding approved. In an effort to placate Republicans, the White House proposal includes billions of dollars to beef up security at the US-Mexico border.
Republican strategist Doug Heye said future US aid to Ukraine was “in doubt”, adding: “Republicans in Congress are where their voters are on this.”
Although there was more support in the FT-Michigan Ross poll for aid to Israel, the survey found significant levels of scepticism for aiding the Jewish state in its war against Hamas. Forty per cent said the US was spending “too much” on military and financial aid to Israel, while 30 per cent said Washington was spending the “right amount”.
The high levels of opposition to military aid for Israel and Ukraine come against a backdrop of continued unease about the state of the American economy, with only 25 per cent of respondents saying the state of the US economy was either “good” or “excellent”.
Americans continue to point to high inflation as their biggest concern when it comes to their finances, though the poll found a bit more optimism on economic conditions compared with the results last month.
Still, the gloomy outlook continues to weigh on Biden’s re-election prospects, with only 17 per cent of Americans believing they are better off financially since he became president, while 53 per cent said they were worse off.
That was a marginal improvement compared to the previous month, when 14 per cent of Americans said they were better off financially with Biden in the White House, and 55 per cent who said they were worse off.
Rising consumer costs have posed a significant challenge for the president, who has tried to tout strong jobs and GDP numbers and branded his ambitious industrial strategy “Bidenomics”.
The FT-Michigan Ross poll was conducted online by Democratic strategists Global Strategy Group and Republican polling firm North Star Opinion Research between December 5 and 6. It reflects the opinions of 1,004 registered voters nationwide, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.