Hispanics Slightly Less Accepting of Ukrainian Refugees, More Likely to Stay and Fight

Takeaways from the latest Quinnipiac Poll

By Andrew R. Arthur on March 10, 2022

Quinnipiac just released its latest poll, of 1,374 U.S. adults conducted between March 4 and 6. It shows that President Biden’s approval ratings are improving (slightly), but more interestingly provides insight into Hispanics’ thoughts on the conflict in Ukraine, and their willingness to defend the United States against an incursion like the current one in that country. Both contain surprises.

Biden Approval. Thirty-eight percent of respondents approved of Biden’s handling of his job as president, compared to 51 percent who disapproved, a slight bump from polling a week before, when just 37 percent approved and 52 percent disapproved.

Biden is actually in worse shape among independents, swing voters who will play a key role in the upcoming midterm elections, however. Biden received an equally dismal 51 percent disapproval from that cohort, but his approval rating among them stood at just 30 percent.

In a bit of good news for the president, the polling outfit observed:

Biden's job approval rating has been steadily inching higher since he hit a low in a January 12, 2022 Quinnipiac University poll when Americans gave him a negative 33 - 53 percent job approval rating and registered voters gave him a negative 35 - 54 percent job approval rating.

Biden’s performance on the war in Ukraine is likely a big reason for his (comparably) increased approval, in a “rally around the flag” effect.

When asked whether they approved or disapproved of the way Joe Biden is responding to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, 42 percent approved, compared to 45 percent who disapproved. Independents were less charitable, with 37 percent approving and 47 percent disapproving.

Ukrainian Refugees. Speaking of the war in Ukraine, Quinnipiac also asked respondents whether they supported or opposed the United States accepting Ukrainian refugees.

Support was largely overwhelming, at 78 percent, compared to 15 percent who opposed. White respondents were even more strongly in favor of the idea, with 82 percent supporting it versus just 14 percent who opposed bringing Ukrainian refugees here.

Black respondents were also on board, but their support was more tepid. Seventy-seven percent in that demographic were in favor of Ukrainian refugee resettlement in the United States, but 19 percent were opposed.

And then, there were Hispanic respondents. Just 72 percent were in favor, still a large level of support, but the lowest among the 16 different demographic groups that the poll studied. As with Blacks, 19 percent were opposed.

What to make of this difference in support for bringing Ukrainian refugees to the United States between white respondents on the one hand and Black and Hispanic respondents on the other is up for debate. Possibly, though, more respondents in the latter two groups believe American taxpayer dollars (which inevitably would be required for such an endeavor) would be better spent on needy Americans at home.

Stay and Fight or Leave. Quinnipiac also asked respondents: “If you were in the same position as Ukrainians are now, do you think that you would stay and fight or leave the country?” That was another eye-opener.

Fifty-five percent of respondents stated that they would stay and fight, compared to 38 percent who would opt to leave.

That raises the question of where exactly those 38 percent think they would be able to seek safety in a world where the United States was being attacked by an overwhelming force, but perhaps that is beside the point of this purely rhetorical exercise.

There was a significant party split on this question: 57 percent of independents and 68 percent of Republicans would stay and fight, but just 40 percent of Democrats would join them. Compare that to 36 percent of independents, 25 percent of Republicans, and a majority (52 percent) of Democrats who would leave.

Again, Hispanics’ responses were the most interesting. In this cohort, 61 percent would opt to stay and fight, as opposed to 33 percent who would leave. That means that Hispanics are more likely to stay and fight than whites as a whole (57 percent would) and would be less likely to leave (the choice of 35 percent of whites).

There are a lot of different ways to parse out the difference, but one possible answer is that Hispanic Americans (many of whose families arrived within the last generation or two) understand that for all the United States’ issues, this is a country worth defending, and a better option than the alternatives. Perhaps they could convey that point to their fellow countrymen.

Conclusions. Key takeaways from the Quinnipiac Poll: While there is strong support for allowing Ukrainian refugees into the United States, certain groups of Americans are less enthusiastic than others. And Hispanic respondents are much more willing to defend this country than many of their compatriots.