In the weeks following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, millions of Ukrainians fled their nation. While most headed to neighboring countries, the United States vowed to accept up to 100,000 refugees and encouraged Americans to help resettle Ukrainians. As of early June, 45,000 Americans had submitted applications, just over 6,500 Ukrainians had been admitted into the United States, and travel authorizations had been provided to 27,000 more Ukrainians. How do Californians feel about the idea of resettling large numbers of refugees in the US?
Many Ukrainian refugees could end up in California, which is already home to some of the largest Ukrainian communities in the country. Our May 2022 survey found that the idea of resettling thousands of refugees is supported by seven in ten Californians, with fewer than one in four opposed. A March Pew Research Center survey found similar levels of support nationwide.
There is solid support for admitting thousands of refugees in all areas of the state, with six in ten or more across regions in favor. Notably, support is highest in the San Francisco Bay Area, which is home to the third-highest number of Ukrainian immigrants across California’s metropolitan areas (Sacramento metro: 20,000, Los Angeles metro: 17,000; Bay Area: 14,000).
At least six in ten across demographic groups support refugee resettlement. Notably, seven in ten across age groups and genders support this idea. There are some differences across education and income levels: those in households with incomes or $80,000 or more (76%) and college graduates (80%) are most likely to be in favor.
There are also differences in support across parties. Overwhelming majorities of Democrats and independents are in favor of resettling thousands of refugees. Among Republicans, nearly half are in favor while about four in ten are opposed.
Support for the notion of resettling thousands of refugees is largely aligned with support for the United States and its European allies imposing economic sanctions on Russia in our March and May surveys. In fact, 80% of those who favor sanctions on Russia also support admitting thousands of refugees.
On the eve of World Refugee Day—honoring refugees around the world seeking protection from war, violence, or persecution—Californians are showing strong support for the people of Ukraine. Stay tuned as the PPIC Statewide Survey continues to track views related to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.