Maybe it is the photos of him posing shirtless on horseback, or his military push into Ukraine, but Americans in a new poll believe Russian President Vladimir Putin is a much stronger leader than President Obama.

A YouGov/Economist survey of 1,000 adults interviewed March 8-10 found that 78 percent view Putin as somewhat to very strong leader. Just 45 percent see Obama the same way. Worse, more Americans, 55 percent, view Obama as a weak leader.

The poll comes as the president is struggling with a response to Putin's push into Ukraine and expectations that Crimea will break off and join Russia.

The public, however, does not seem to be struggling over the Ukraine crisis. The poll found that 50 percent do not believe that the “U.S. should get involved in Russia's dispute with Ukraine.” Twenty-five percent do, and 24 percent are not sure.

And only 24 percent approve of Obama’s handling of the situation.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at