More than half of voters disapprove of Trump's handling of Russia: poll

More than half of voters disapprove of Trump's handling of Russia: poll
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More than half of U.S. voters disapprove of the way President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rallies in Nevada amid Supreme Court flurry: 'We're gonna get Brett' Trump: 'Good news' that Obama is campaigning again Trump boosts Heller, hammers 'Wacky Jacky' opponent in Nevada MORE is handling relations with Russia, according a to Harvard CAPS/Harris poll released exclusively to The Hill on Thursday.

The poll showed 58 percent disapprove of Trump's handling of U.S.-Russia relations, while 42 percent approved. It was conducted a little over a week after Trump’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, which sparked an uproar when the U.S. president did not denounce Russia for election inference in the 2016 election and appeared to side with Putin over U.S. intelligence agencies.

Meanwhile, 59 percent of voters said they believed that Trump came across looking  "weak" in the press conference with Putin, compared to 41 percent who said he looked "strong."

The Harvard CAPS/Harris showed 47 percent of U.S. voters said that Putin gained the most from the summit, while only 9 percent said that Trump benefitted more. Forty-four percent of respondents said both leaders benefitted equally from the talks.

The poll also showed 57 percent believe that Trump should have used the news conference as an opportunity to denounce Russian interference in U.S. political affairs, while 43 percent said that he was right not to raise the issue.

 

Mark Penn, the co-director of the Harvard-Harris poll, said he believes Trump may have been "wise" to back away from his plan to meet Putin again in Washington, D.C., in the fall. 

"He was wise to cancel the next summit with Putin as the last one created a round of problems for him," Penn said.

Penn added Trump's meeting with Putin contrasted unfavorably with his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in June.

"His summit with Kim was viewed as a success; this one made Trump look weak," Penn added.

Voters were closely divided on the Putin invite to D.C., the Harvard-Harris poll found. Just over half of respondents, or 51 percent, said they they supported the decision to welcome the Russian leader to the United States in the fall, while 49 percent were opposed to the move.

Trump's handling of Russia helped hit his favorability rating in foreign affairs, which fell to 43 percent in July from 47 percent in June, though his overall approval rating stayed steady at 45 percent, the Harvard-Harris poll found.

Days before his summit with Putin, Mueller indicted a dozen Russian officials in the 2016 hacking of the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

According to the Harvard-Harris poll, 58 percent of voters believe that releasing the indictment so close to the Helsinki summit was "the right thing to do," while 42 percent believe the release amounted to "the special counsel interfering with the president's ability to conduct foreign policy."

The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll online survey of 1,323 registered voters was conducted July 24-25. The partisan breakdown is 37 percent Democrat, 32 percent Republican, 29 percent independent and 2 percent other.

The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll is a collaboration of the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard University and The Harris Poll. The Hill will be working with Harvard/Harris Poll throughout 2018.

Full poll results will be posted online later this week. The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll survey is an online sample drawn from the Harris Panel and weighted to reflect known demographics. As a representative online sample, it does not report a probability confidence interval.