Poll: Most Republicans Still Fine With Trump Handling of Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin gives a soccer ball to U.S. President Donald Trump, left, during a press conference after their meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, Monday, July 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

(CN) – Despite this week’s Helsinki summit, where President Donald Trump said he did not believe in U.S. intelligence agencies’ reports of Russian interference in 2016 U.S. elections – or perhaps may have just misspoke – a whopping 71 percent of Republicans say they still approve of the way he’s handling Russia.

The Reuters/Ipsos survey issued Wednesday also found 55 percent of all registered voters disapprove of how Trump is handling Russian relations.

After making his statement at the summit – flanked by Russian president Vladimir Putin – Trump backpedaled on Tuesday after taking heat from both sides of the aisle, saying that he misspoke.

In a statement, House Speaker Paul Ryan said that there was “no question” Russia interfered in the election.

“The president must appreciate that Russia is not our ally,” Ryan said.

In stark contrast to the majority of Americans polled, 71 percent of Republicans said they approve of how the president is dealing with Russia and Putin. But while Trump continues to hold on to a strong base of supporters, the poll makes clear most Americans believe U.S. intelligence reports that Russia attempted to meddle in the 2016 presidential election.

According to the survey, 59 percent said they believe Russia interfered, while only 32 percent of Republicans said they believe the same. Such strong partisanship seems to back up a comment made by Trump in 2016, when he said he could shoot someone in the middle of the street and not lose support from his followers.

Trump’s campaign officials are currently under investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller for possible inappropriate contact with the Russians. When asked if investigators will find evidence of wrongdoing, 51 percent of those polled said it was likely, compared to just 19 percent of Republicans who thought so.

A similar number, 52 percent, said they thought Trump or someone working on his campaign worked with Russian officials to influence the election.

Meanwhile, 38 percent of respondents consider Russia to be an enemy of the United States, according to the poll. Another 38 percent considered Russia to be a competitor. Along a partisan split, half of the Democrats polled considered Russia an enemy compared to 33 percent of Republicans.

The survey was conducted among 1,011 registered voters and has a credibility interval of 4 percent.


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