TIME Foreign Policy

Americans to Putin: You’re No Hitler

Drill of Russian Army
Vladimir Putin inspects Russian army drills near Leningrad in March. A vast majority of Americans view Putin as dishonest and untrustworthy, according to a new poll Anadolu Agency—Getty Images

A new poll says Americans don't view the Russian president as having anywhere near the menace of the Nazi leader, but they think Putin is just as strong a leader as Obama, who earns poor marks for his handling of the crisis in Crimea

Americans think Russian President Vladimir Putin just doesn’t hold a candle to Adolf Hitler when it comes to evil foreign bogeymen, according to a new poll.

The Quinnipiac University survey released Wednesday found that just 24% of Americans compare Putin’s military aggression toward Ukraine with Hitler’s belligerent moves in the run-up to World War II. A majority of Americans, just over 50%, say that comparison goes too far.

Putin has increasingly become foreign enemy No. 1 to many Americans, especially in the wake of his country’s annexation of the Crimea region from Ukraine. NATO’s top commander, General Philip M. Breedlove, said in an interview Wednesday that the 40,000 Russian troops massed along the border with Ukraine could invade with almost no warning.

A vast majority of Americans view Putin as dishonest and untrustworthy, according to the poll. But Americans are also evenly split on who is the better leader, Putin or President Barack Obama. Eighty percent of Americans are either “somewhat concerned” or “very concerned” that the fight between Putin and Western powers could draw the United States into a military conflict. And Obama gets bad marks for his handling of the crisis: 47% disapprove and only 41% approve.

The poll of 1,578 registered voters, conducted from March 26-31, has a margin of error of 2.5 percentage points.

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