March 28, 2022
Most Americans think Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has increased the possibility of nuclear weapons being used anywhere in the world. Forty-five percent are personally extremely or very concerned about Russia using nuclear weapons that target the United States. And a similar proportion are extremely or very concerned about the possibility of the United States being pulled into a war with Russia.
Forty-seven percent of Americans are extremely or very concerned about the United States getting drawn into a war with Russia, 38% are somewhat concerned, and 15% have little or no concern about a war with Russia. Among those concerned about war with Russia, 83% think the Russian invasion of Ukraine has increased the possibility that nuclear weapons would be deployed.
As the crisis in Ukraine escalates, most Americans are very or extremely concerned that Russia will target Ukraine with nuclear weapons. There is also concern about Russia directing nuclear weapons at other countries in Europe.
Three-quarters of Americans are at least somewhat concerned that Russia will target the United States with nuclear weapons, and 57% are at least somewhat concerned about a nuclear attack where they live.
Seventy-four percent of those who are worried about the United States getting involved in a war with Russia are extremely or very concerned that Russia would target this country with nuclear weapons, and 52% are similarly concerned about a nuclear attack where they live. Most who are not worried about war with Russia are not concerned about a nuclear attack where they live or on the United States as a whole.
In the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, concern about Russia’s global influence has grown. There is also more concern about China’s influence. Although Americans are less worried about the nuclear programs of North Korea and Iran, those concerns have increased in last month. The survey was conducted before North Korea’s most recent intercontinental ballistic missile test-fire.
The nationwide poll was conducted March 17-21, 2022 using the AmeriSpeak® Panel, the probability-based panel of NORC at the University of Chicago. Online and telephone interviews using landlines and cell phones were conducted with 1,082 adults. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4.0 percentage points.
- Suggested Citation: AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. (March 2022).“Concerns about nuclear weapons” [https://apnorc.org/projects/concerns-about-nuclear-weapons]