Putin coming to USA, but most wish he would stay away

April 3, 2018

A majority of Americans (68%) have an unfavorable opinion of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, based on findings of a poll by Pew Research released on March 26. Just 16% see Putin favorably, with more Republicans than Democrats holding that view.

But, however they may feel, Americans will be getting an up-close look at the Russian leader soon: One of his Putin’s aides announced on April 2 that U.S. President Donald Trump had invited him to the White House when they spoke by telephone on March 20. No date for the meeting has been announced.

One-quarter of Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents (25%) said they had a favorable view of Putin overall, according to the researchers, who conducted the survey before the Russian leader’s re-election and Trump called him to congratulate him.

 Just 9% of Democrats and Democratic-leaners had a favorable view of Putin. About three-quarters of Democrats (76%), on the other hand, held an unfavorable view of the Russian president, compared with a smaller majority of Republicans (62%).

. The share of Republicans viewing him favorably more than doubled between 2015 and 2017, from 11% to 27%. Conversely, more Democrats viewed Putin unfavorably in 2017 (79%) than did so in 2015 (69%), but there has been little change since last year.

Other significant partisan shifts in views of Russia have taken place in recent years. For many years, Republicans and Democrats shared similar views about whether Russia posed a major threat to the United States. For example, as recently as April 2016, 46% of Republicans and 37% of Democrats said “tensions with Russia” were a major threat to U.S. well-being.

By January 2017, after the U.S. presidential election, Democrats had become far more likely than Republicans to view Russia as a threat – although views have changed little since then. Overall, 52% of Americans see Russia’s power and influence as a major threat.

Research contact: info@pewresearch.org

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