A new poll commissioned by Razom, a non-profit Ukrainian-American human rights organization, finds that in the US, many Republican base voters, primarily evangelical Christians and self-identified Trump supporters, are opposed to aid to Ukraine.

However, given accurate information about Ukrainian military wins and Christians being persecuted by Russians in occupied parts of Ukraine, the support from these key Republican constituencies increases dramatically. 

However, these Americans are not getting a lot of accurate information about Ukraine.

Trump supporters and American Christians have been subjected to a barrage of Kremlin-fueled negative and inaccurate information from conservative icons like Tucker Carlson and the Heritage Foundation.

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Carlson in particular has driven Christians away from Ukraine  with his false claims that Zelensky’s government is persecuting Ukrainian Christians.

This data is important as new House Speaker Mike Johnson, a devout Christian, navigates the currents of the House Republican Conference on further aid to Ukraine.

Kevin McCarthy was deposed as Speaker in part because he brought legislation for additional aid to Ukraine to the House floor for a vote that was opposed by a majority of Republican House members.

When asked the straightforward question: “Do you think Congress should or should not authorize additional funding to support Ukraine in the war with Russia?” 44 percent of American voters say “yes” and 38 percent say “no.” But only 7 percent of Trump supporters say “yes.” Evangelical Christians only support at a rate of 28 percent.

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When told that Ukraine is in possession of 83 percent of its territory and that American intelligence believes the war has severely degraded Russia's military power and its ability to threaten NATO allies, 53 percent of voters support and 29 percent oppose more support, a net swing of 18 points. Even the usually negative Trump supporters like a winner. Their support more than triples to 24 percent, but Christians are virtually unchanged at 29 percent.

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However, when American Evangelical Christians are given factual information about Russians persecuting Ukrainian believers, 55 percent say they are more likely to support aid to Ukraine with only 5 percent saying they are less likely. Similarly, Trump supporters are 46 percent to 10 percent more likely to support aid to Ukraine.

The key for Ukrainian supporters is to target these groups – particularly Christians – with persuasive messaging. This is not particularly challenging. Stories of Ukrainian Protestants being tortured by Russians are all too common. One study showed that while accounting for less than 5 percent of Ukraine’s population, Protestant Christians account for one-third of reported cases of persecution.

Viktor Cherniivaskyi, a Ukrainian believer who spent 25 days being tortured by the Russians, points out that unlike Orthodox Christians, evangelical Christians in Ukraine are associated with America – and frequently singled out for torture and abuse by Russian soldiers. The Kyiv-based Institute for Religious Freedom reports Russian soldiers in occupied Kherson saying to one of their employees: “Evangelical believers like you should be completely destroyed…a simple shooting will be too easy for you. You need to be buried alive.”

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In addition to concerns about Ukrainian Christians being persecuted, 68 percent of Christians and 82 percent of Trump supporters polled characterized the world as “very unstable,” compared to 56 percent of all voters.

Christians and Trump supporters polled also were concerned about Ukraine being part of a broader war. Sixty-eight percent of Christians and 70 percent of Trump supporters agreed with the statement: “Whether we like it or not – Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea are creating chaos around the world right now in Ukraine, Israel, and other places. The world needs America now more than ever to unite our allies and defend our friends under direct attack from our enemies.”

The Ukrainian Protestant Christian community needs to activate and communicate with American believers about their suffering at the hands of the Russians. The five percent of Ukrainians who identify as Protestant Christians could have a vastly disproportionate impact on the future of American aid to Ukraine. 

Polling was conducted online from Oct. 13-17, 2023. Using its Bias Correct Engine to attain a representative sample, Change Research polled 1,443 voters nationally. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.

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