Thanks to Ukraine's successful PR campaign, instituting a "no fly zone" is currently a popular talking point in the US. But as explained in What would setting up a no-fly zone by NATO over Ukraine actually mean? this would be logistically difficult to setup and would risk significant escalation of the conflict, potentially leading up to World War 3.

Are there any polls of the general public on what they think a "no fly zone" actually means?


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Well, might as well quote the CBS/Yougov about this (March 13th):

Even though a majority of Americans initially said they would back a no-fly zone, this majority vanishes once they consider that it could lead to a U.S.-Russia conflict. Support for a no-fly zone starts off lower than the sanctions to begin with, then drops off considerably when people are asked if it meant U.S. forces might have to engage Russian aircraft, and be considered an act of war by Russia.

"No fly zone" -> 59% for, 41% against.

rephrased as "No fly zone means act of war": -> 38% for, 62% against.

So, people are much more realistic once they understand the actual meaning better. Past no fly zones were imposed on low-threat opponents (post Gulf War 1 Iraq, Serbia) so that might explain the relative initial enthusiasm: people probably figure it's a less risky alternative than "boots on the ground".

Another/same Yougov poll, referring to yet other polls, exact question was "should the U.S. military should shoot down Russian military planes flying over Ukraine?"

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    It's probably the "shoot down Russian aircraft bombing civs" crowd, rather than "go to war with Russia" crowd. I wonder what was in the exact poll question. Here's another/the same yougov poll , the question was "should the U.S. military should shoot down Russian military planes flying over Ukraine" Commented Mar 17, 2022 at 19:17
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    @Fizz I also think you'd have to look at the ages of the pollees. I grew up near the tail of the Cold War so, no matter my views on military solutions, I am innately familiar with the no-direct-confrontation mantra enforced by the nukes. Younger people have never lived in a world where the large scale nuclear war was likely. In some ways Putin's current apparent irrationality is scarier than the good old Breznhev-era "Communism is great, death to Capitalism" when each knew their place. Commented Mar 17, 2022 at 19:38

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