After failing to denounce Russian interference in the 2016 election during an extraordinary summit with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, President Trump has drawn sharp bipartisan condemnation. House speaker Paul Ryan, usually friendly to Trump, led the wave of criticism by saying that "there is no moral equivalence between the United States and Russia, which remains hostile to our most basic values and ideals". Ryan added that there was "no question" Moscow had interfered with the 2016 election. Republican senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham as well as senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer were among those adding their voices to the chorus of criticism.
Even before the Helsinki controversy, U.S. public views of Russia relations plummeted, thanks in part to the Kremlin's annexation of Crimea, alleged shooting down of a Malaysia Airlines airliner and interference in the election. Back in 1999 when Boris Yeltsin was still Russian president and approaching the end of his time in office, 46 percent of Americans considered Moscow a friend or ally according to Gallup, while 32 percent said Russia was "enemy or unfriendly". By July 2006, the share of the U.S. public considering Russia a friend or ally hit an all-time high of 73 percent under Putin. Perceptions about relations started to deteriorate in 2008, the year war broke out between Russia and Georgia, and they have been on a downward slide ever since.
That downward slide accelerated sharply due to the sequence of events mentioned above and by July 2018, 66 percent of the U.S. public considered Russia an enemy or unfriendly compared to just 31 percent who said Moscow is a friend or ally. Interestingly, the percentage of Republicans considering Russia a friend or ally has increased sharply since 2014, rising from 22 percent to 40 percent. That figure has also risen among Democrats, albeit very slightly by comparison.
by Niall McCarthy originally published by Forbes. Niall McCarthy is a Statista data journalist, covering technological, societal and media topics through visual representation. In his own words: "I love to write about all trending topics, illustrating patterns and trends in a quick, clear and meaningful way. Our work at Statista has been featured in publications including Mashable, the Wall Street Journal and Business Insider."
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