Polling editor: Increased support for Russia among Republicans is ‘disturbing’

RealClearPolitics Washington editor Carl Cannon called increased support for Russia among Republicans “disturbing” on Monday. 

He also said the reason for the increased GOP support is related to President Trump’s criticisms of the investigation of the 2016 presidential election. 

“There’s one other variable, and this is a little bit disturbing. In 2014, 22 percent of Republicans said that Russia was an ally, this was from a Gallup poll. That number’s now 40 percent,” Cannon told Hill.TV’s Joe Concha on “What America’s Thinking,” referring to two Gallup polls on American attitudes toward Moscow. 

“Now, what’s happened in four years? Well, nothing good. Russia solidified its annexation of Crimea. Its separatists armed by [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s army shot down a passenger airline, killed a bunch of Dutch children. … The Russians have apparently continued to assassinate people on British soil. That number shouldn’t go up among Republicans, and it has,” he said.
“The only thing I can think of there is President Trump’s constant refrain about the witch hunt and Russia, and conflating these issues has made respondents to this poll, not a trick question exactly, but there’s a little bit of ‘I have to stick up for my team there. The president is saying we can get along with Russia, OK maybe we can get along with Russia,’ ” Cannon said. 
Cannon’s comments come after Trump met with Putin in Helsinki on Monday. 
Trump did not condemn Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election during a news conference with his Russian counterpart. 
“He just said it’s not Russia,” repeating Putin’s denials on meddling. “I will say this, I don’t see any reason why it would be.”
— Julia Manchester