The American public’s support for admitting Ukrainian refugees is higher than Gallup has found in any refugee situation since 1939, the firm said on Tuesday.
Gallup reported the record high after its new poll found that 78 percent of adults in the United States approve of allowing up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees into the country.
The results underscore stark differences in Americans’ view of various refugee crises, particularly given the number of Ukrainian refugees in question. When Americans were asked about admitting at least 10,000 Syrian refugees in 2015, for example, Gallup found that just 37 percent approved.
Racial bias plays an undeniable role in differing welcomes to refugees from different countries, migration experts have said. Since the start of Russia’s invasion, there have been several instances of white government officials and journalists expressing shock at the “unthinkable” happening in Europe, to people with “blue eyes and blonde hair,” who seem “so like us.”
American support for Ukrainian refugees has been reflected in other polls throughout the war, though not at the scale that Gallup’s found.
A Reuters/Ipsos poll released in early March found that 74 percent of Americans believed the country should allow Ukrainian refugees in. Later that month, the Pew Research Center reported that 69 percent of Americans favored admitting thousands of Ukrainians.
President Biden bowed to domestic and international pressure and declared on March 24 that the United States would accept up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees. The Gallup poll was conducted after that, from April 1 to 19, through phone interviews with a random sample of 1,018 adults. The margin of error was plus or minus 4 percentage points.
On Monday, the Biden administration rolled out one piece of that initiative — a program that allows Americans to sponsor Ukrainian refugees if they are able to provide financial support such as room and board or direct payments for necessary expenses.