Politics

Vast majority of Americans back Russian oil embargo despite expected price hikes at pump

President Biden’s decision to ban Russian oil imports has the support of a vast majority of the American public.

Mr. Biden moved Tuesday to impose the ban a day after Quinnipiac University released a national poll showing that 7 in 10 Americans would “support a ban on Russian oil even if it meant higher gasoline prices in the United States.”

“Americans are ready to put a chokehold on Russia’s key financial lifeblood, oil, no matter what the consequences are at the pump,” said Quinnipiac University Polling Analyst Tim Malloy.

The support cut across partisan lines with large majorities. Democrats backed the idea 82% to 12%, independents backed it 70% to 22% and Republicans backed it 66% to 30%.

Overall, Americans supported the embargo 71% to 22%.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine added to the skyrocketing cost of gasoline in the U.S., putting additional pressure on elected leaders to reverse the trend.

Mr. Biden resisted a ban on Russian oil imports but was under intense pressure from both parties in Congress, who reached a deal Monday on legislation to impose a ban. Mr. Biden and leaders in Europe, who rely more heavily on Russian oil and so far have refused to ban it, fear an embargo will send already high gasoline prices through the roof.

The national average gas price has topped $4 a gallon for the first time in over a decade. It’s fast approaching the all-time nominal record high for the national average gas price of $4.11, which was set on July 17, 2008, according to AAA.

After briefly reaching nearly $140 a barrel in spot trading earlier this week, the price of the benchmark Brent crude was trading at a still-elevated $132 a barrel in early Tuesday trading.

According to the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, Russia in 2021 represented just 3% of total U.S. crude oil imports and just 1% of the total crude oil produced by U.S. refineries. Canada, Mexico and Saudi Arabia accounted for more than three-fourths of U.S. crude oil imports.

The Quinnipiac survey also found 60% of Americans believe Russian President Vladimir Putin is willing to use nuclear weapons against NATO countries, compared to 28% who believe he won’t go that far.

Mr. Biden, meanwhile, gets mixed reviews on his response to Ukraine, with 42% approving and 45 % disapproving. That’s a slight uptick from a week ago when 39% approved and 47% disapproved.

His overall approval rating remains similar to a week ago with 38% approving and 51 % disapproving.

The survey was conducted from March 4 to March 6. It included 1,374 adults and h aad margin of error of plus or minus 2.6%.

• Jeff Mordock and Ramsey Touchberry contributed to this report.

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