Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Public Disagrees With Trump On Russia (And Putin)
Donald Trump seems to have a favorable opinion of Russia, and it strongman -- Vladimir Putin. But a majority of the American public disagrees with his assessment. About 54% of Americans view Russia as a major threat to the United States.
Surprisingly though, only 41% of Republicans see Russia as a major threat -- about 17% less than held that view just three years ago. Have they been seduced by Russia's help to elect their presidential nominee? Or are they just blindly accepting Trump's views?
Maybe they have just foolishly accepted the myth that the cold war is over. If so, they are wrong. While the Soviet Union no longer exists, its major member (Russia) does -- and it continues to oppose U.S. and Western interests around the world. Russia's leader is former KGB, and regardless of what he says publicly, still views the United States as an enemy.
Frankly, Trump's view of Russia and Putin worries me. The U.S. has opposed Russian aggression since World War II, and acted as a check on the expansion of Russia and its influence. Is that policy going to change now to one of appeasement? That's a distinct possibility, since Trump views the world more in economic terms (possibility of business profits) than political terms (protection of emerging and established democracies). A policy of appeasement may or may not be good for business interests, but it will definitely increase Russia's aggression throughout the world.
Trump's assessment of Putin is also not aired by the public (see chart below), and that even includes members of Trump's own party. While a larger share of Republicans view Putin favorably than either Democrats (11%) or the general public (19%), it is a small percentage (27%). Trump may trust Putin, but American's don't.
These charts are from a recent Pew Research Center survey -- done between January 4th and 9th of a random national sample of 1,502 adults, and has a 2.9 point margin of error.