Bipartisan Majorities in Maryland’s 8th District Favor Continuing Aid for Ukraine

The question of whether to continue aid for Ukraine was the focus of an innovative town hall with Congressman Jamie Raskin on Sunday, June 10, 2024. The discussion was prompted by a new public consultation survey of a representative sample of Maryland’s 8th Congressional District, which found that majorities of both Democrats and Republicans support the US continuing to provide military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine.  Majorities also support encouraging Ukraine to engage in peace negotiations.

The survey results were released and discussed at a public consultation forum hosted by Voice of the People in Silver Spring, MD. Congressman Jamie Raskin and a subset of the respondents who took the survey discussed the topic and survey findings. This public consultation process is designed to give the public a more effective voice in their government’s policymaking. This is the third public consultation conducted with Congressman Raskin’s participation. 

“I was impressed by how commanding the majorities were for both military and humanitarian assistance to people in Ukraine. It seemed like when people had all the facts and thought it through, they were strongly supportive. I had been operating on that assumption, but I wasn’t really sure. And now I really feel like I am where the bulk of where my constituents are,” said Congressman Raskin. “When you are a member of Congress you hear from a lot of people on a whole range of issues. So you are hearing from the most galvanized, mobilized, activated constituencies, but you don’t really have a clear sense of whether that is a representative cross-section of where people are when they think it through. I believe in the wisdom of big crowds of people.”

The survey of a representative sample of 604 residents of MD-8 was conducted by the University of Maryland’s Program for Public Consultation. The US continuing to provide military aid to Ukraine, including equipment, training, and intelligence, was favored by a bipartisan majority of 64%. A majority of Republicans were in favor (58%), as were Democrats (68%). 

The US continuing to provide humanitarian aid to Ukraine for food, shelter, healthcare, and infrastructure, was even more popular with 77% in favor. Seven-in-ten Republicans (69%) and eight-in-ten Democrats (81%) were in favor.

At the forum, constituent Mona Galpin explained her point of view: “For the most part we are sending old planes, old tanks, old ammunition. Things that are out of date anyway. If Ukraine can have it and use it before it expires, it gives us manufacturing jobs here to build new planes and technology. I also think that humanitarian aid is very important. These Ukrainians didn’t ask for this. Russia just came in shooting. I try to visualize if it were happening here. What if Mexico decided to take Texas?”

In the lively discussion, local resident, April Stafford was concerned about the fiscal implications: “The basic man on the street sees all this money going out to other countries, and we aren’t thinking about GDPs of this country or whatever. We’re seeing we have lost revenue at home, and we are throwing it to other countries. People think of their families first.”

The decision of whether to continue providing military aid was not an easy one for residents. Each of the arguments for and against were found convincing by a bipartisan majority. Survey respondents were given the opportunity to share their thoughts. One respondent, who favored aid, stated: “The possibility of this war leading to a direct US-Russia confrontation with a possible nuclear threat is quite real. However, further empowering Putin’s expansionist authoritarianism is a more proximate danger and must be curtailed before the former scenario is more likely.”

Respondents were asked whether, “the US should or should not encourage Ukraine to enter into negotiations with Russia, whether or not Russia first commits to withdraw from all of Ukraine.” A majority of 60% of respondents said the US should encourage negotiations, including a small majority of Democrats (55%), and over eight-in-ten Republicans (82%).

Most respondents sympathized with both sides of this debate over whether to encourage Ukraine to enter negotiations, with each pro and con argument found convincing by a bipartisan majority. One respondent who favored the proposal said they did so because “Ukraine will not be able to play the long game in war against Russia.” Another, who opposed negotiations, said: “This is a hard one, because we don’t want a forever war.”

The 604 residents from Maryland’s 8th District who participated in the online survey went through a process called a ‘policymaking simulation’ that seeks to put them in the shoes of a policymaker. Respondents are provided a briefing, presented with pro and con arguments, and then asked to register their policy views. The content is reviewed by experts on each side of the issue to ensure accuracy. Policymaking simulations are developed by the University of Maryland’s Program for Public Consultation.

“Every public consultation we host focuses on a policy topic, such as the Ukraine War. Citizens are briefed beforehand and come to the forum equipped to have an informed, policy-focused civil dialogue with their representatives,” said Voice of the People’s President, Steven Kull.

The 604 respondents were obtained from online opt-in panels: Cint, Dynata and Prodege. Sample collection was managed by QuantifyAI under the direction of the University of Maryland’s Program for Public Consultation.  The sample was pre-stratified and weighted by age, race, gender, education, income and partisan affiliation to match the general adult population of Maryland’s 8th Congressional District. 

US Role In Ukraine Questionnaire with MD-8 and U.S. National Frequencies:
https://vop.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/06/US-UkraineQuestionnaireMD8.pdf

US Role in Ukraine Survey Slides with MD-8 and U.S. National Results:
https://vop.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/06/MD8-Ukraine-Slides-0624.pdf 

Members of the public can go through the same policymaking simulation at: www.vop.org/md8

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