- By David FrancisDavid Francis is a staff writer for Foreign Policy, where he oversees FP's breaking news blog, The Cable. An award-winning journalist, David has reported from all over Europe, Nigeria, Kenya, Mexico, and Afghanistan on terrorism, national security, the geopolitics of energy, global economics, and the European financial crisis. His work has been published in outlets including the Christian Science Monitor, the Financial Times Deutschland, Slate, and SportsIllustrated.com.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has invaded Ukraine and annexed the Crimean peninsula. His cyber cronies have tried to influence the results of the U.S. presidential election. Washington and Moscow are at odds over how to deal with the Syrian civil war, even as Russia is determined to reduce the city of Aleppo to ashes. Putin is harboring Edward Snowden, a man wanted by U.S. authorities for leaking American intelligence secrets. Yet somehow, Putin remains popular with supporters of GOP nominee Donald Trump.
According to a new poll by Politico/Morning Consult released Monday, almost half of Trump supporters believe Russia is an ally, or at least a friendly nation to the United States. Some 19 percent of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s supporters view Russia favorably, compared to 24 percent of Trump backers.
The results of the poll should not come as a shock. Trump has repeatedly praised the Russian strongman, even calling on Russian hackers to release Clinton’s emails. For his part, Putin has also shared warm feelings about the Republican nominee, calling him “colorful.”
At the same time, the poll found that only 32 percent of Republicans believe the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that Putin is trying to influence the presidential election. Trump himself, despite receiving intelligence briefings about the matter, still deflects blame from Russia. Exactly half of Democrats believe Putin is trying to hack the election in some way.
And that all translates into little appetite for punishment. Only 34 percent of respondents said the United States should slap Russia with new economic sanctions.
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