Poll: Americans unconcerned about Russian military power

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     In this handout photo released from Cyprus Information Office, President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades, front second from right, walks with members of the Russian aircraft carrier “Admiral Kuznetsov” during his tour of the vessel outside of Limassol port south of Cyprus, Friday, Feb. 28, 2014. Anastasiades said Cyprus can act as a stabilizing factor in a tumultuous region because it’s uniquely positioned to offer its facilities to warships that engaged in enhancing regional peace and security. The aircraft carrier arrived in Cyprus Thursday for a three-day rest and resupply stay. (AP Photo/Press and Information Office)

    In this handout photo released from Cyprus Information Office, President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades, front second from right, walks with members of the Russian aircraft carrier “Admiral Kuznetsov” during his tour of the vessel outside of Limassol port south of Cyprus, Friday, Feb. 28, 2014. Anastasiades said Cyprus can act as a stabilizing factor in a tumultuous region because it’s uniquely positioned to offer its facilities to warships that engaged in enhancing regional peace and security. The aircraft carrier arrived in Cyprus Thursday for a three-day rest and resupply stay. (AP Photo/Press and Information Office)

    The United States and Europe are warily monitoring Russia’s response to developments in Ukraine, with Moscow promising to protect Russian-speaking Ukranians in Crimea, where Russia has a major naval base. Let’s gauge public reaction with Frank Newport, editor in chief of the Gallup Poll.

    On tap this week:

    • U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel unveiled this week new Pentagon budget plans that would, among other things, cut the size of the standing army down to levels lower than any since before WWII. We’ll get an update on the American public’s views of spending for the military and defense — with trends going back to 1969 in the middle of the Vietnam War.

    • Two leaders met in the White House this past week for a rare one-on-one, face-to-face meeting: President Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner. As far as their images with the American public are concerned, Obama clearly has the upper hand.

    • First Lady Michelle Obama was in the news this week as she helped unveil potential major changes in mandated food labels. She’s a good spokesperson for this, as her image remains quite positive. Much more so than her husband’s.

    • Two potential contenders for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination — Hillary Clinton and Delaware’s own Joe Biden. What are their images among Americans, and among Democrats in particular?

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