Putin favorability surges with Republicans

Russian President Vladimir Putin is fast becoming a more polarizing figure among Americans than ever before as both his approval and disapproval ratings are soaring.

That movement is likely attributable to Trump's praise for Putin on the campaign trail and oft-stated desire to have a better relationship with Russian Federation than the two countries enjoyed during the Obama years.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that the idea to send a Russian aircraft carrier group to Syria was his own, adding that Russia does not intend to interfere in Syria's internal affairs, but wants to deal with the terrorists.

Only 13 percent of Americans had a favorable opinion of Putin in 2015 according to a Gallup poll.

"Our task is to stabilise the legitimate authority in the country and strike a decisive blow against global terrorism", said Putin, whose administration is a key ally of the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

According to the survey, which is based on telephone interviews with a random sample of 1,035 adults from all 50 states, the percentage of Americans positive about Putin increased most significantly among Republicans: from 12 percent in 2015, to 32 percent today. Twenty-three percent of independents now view Putin favorably compared to 12 percent in 2015. Democrats' views have become slightly less positive, with just 10% viewing Putin favorably today.

The percentage viewing Russian Federation favorably is similar to last year's 30% but is up slightly from 24% in 2015 - the all-time low favorable score for the country in Gallup's trend. Now, 28 percent view the country positively, while 70 percent view it negatively. And the NBC poll shows 76% of those who identify as Democrats holding a negative view of US-Russia relations. A key factor in this may be the allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election, which ended in President Trump's victory.

These numbers will provide more fodder for Democrats who have sought to use Trump's unwillingness to condemn Putin as evidence of the too-close ties between the Kremlin and America's new president.

Trump's friendlier approach toward Putin appears to have garnered more positive feelings from members of the president's party toward the Russian leader. This year could be pivotal in determining how much the US finds agreement with Russian Federation - and whether the modest increase in goodwill toward Putin is a short-lived phenomenon or an indication of more positive views to come. It has a margin of error of 4 percentage points, with a 95 percent confidence level.

  • Leroy Wright