Fewer Americans see Russia favorably than ever before: poll

AP-Alexander Semilianchenko

Fewer Americans viewed Russia in a favorable light than ever before, even before President Vladimir Putin launched the war against Ukraine, a new poll shows.

The survey, conducted by Gallup, showed only 15 percent of Americans viewed Russia favorably, while 85 percent said their views of Russia were unfavorable. The poll, conducted over the first two weeks of February, came as Russia positioned tens of thousands of soldiers around Ukraine, poised for the invasion that began on Feb. 24.

Attitudes toward Russia have soured in recent years, after American intelligence agencies accused Putin’s own intelligence services of interfering in American elections. As recently as 2016, before the presidential election, 30 percent of Americans saw Russia favorably; near the end of the Cold War, in 1991, as many as two-thirds of Americans viewed Russia in a favorable light.

Almost two thirds of Americans said they viewed Ukraine in a favorable light, even before the invasion and President Volodymyr Zelensky’s sudden emergence as a Churchillian figure opposing the Russian invaders.

Americans see Canada more favorably than any other nation. Nearly nine in 10 surveyed, 87 percent, view our neighbors to the north in a positive light, though Democrats are more likely than Republicans to say nice things about Canadians; 95 percent of Democrats see Canada favorably, compared with 80 percent of Republicans.

More than 80 percent of Americans have favorable views of Great Britain (86 percent), France (84 percent) and Japan (82 percent). More than 70 percent say the same of Germany (78 percent), India (77 percent) and Israel (71 percent).

On the other end of the spectrum, nations like Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and North Korea have the worst ratings, alongside Russia. Fewer than one in five Americans have favorable views of any of those nations.

Democrats are more likely to hold favorable opinions of foreign nations than Republicans; three-quarters of Democrats view Mexico favorably, while only half of Republicans say the same. Large partisan gaps exist over Cuba, France and Germany, too. While a quarter of Democrats view China favorably, just 13 percent of Republicans said the same.

The lone exception is Israel, of which 80 percent of Republicans and just 65 percent of Democrats hold favorable views.

Americans’ views of China have cratered in recent years, a slide that began before the pandemic and hastened after the coronavirus emerged from the Chinese city of Wuhan. As recently as 2018, half of Americans, 53 percent, said they viewed China favorably; today, just 20 percent say the same.

To conduct the poll, Gallup surveyed 1,008 Americans over the age of 18 between February 1-17. The poll carried a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Tags Donald Trump Joe Biden Russia Ukraine United States US-Russia relations Vladimir Putin

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