More than half of Americans disapprove of the way US President Donald Trump is handling relations with Russia, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted after his controversial summit and joint news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
However, Trump’s performance at the Helsinki summit, where Trump refused to blame the Russian leader for meddling in the 2016 US election and cast doubt on the findings of US intelligence agencies, did not seem to have an impact on his overall approval rating.
Forty-two percent of registered voters said they approved of Trump’s performance in office in the latest opinion poll, compared with a daily average of between 40 and 44 percent so far this month.
The poll found that 55 percent of registered voters disapproved, while 37 percent approved of his handling of relations with Russia.
Among Republicans, 71 percent approved of his handling of Russia compared with 14 percent of Democrats.
Trump still enjoys broad support among Republican voters, despite criticism from party leaders about his words and actions while standing alongside the Russian leader answering questions from reporters, the poll showed.
Trump surprised even his supporters when he praised the Russian leader during the news conference for his “strong and powerful” denial of meddling.
On Tuesday, Trump attempted to calm the political storm following his remarks, saying he misspoke at the news conference and had full confidence in US agencies.
However, he appeared to veer from his script, adding: “It could be other people also — there’s a lot of people out there.”
A majority of registered voters, 59 percent, agree with the conclusions of US intelligence agencies that Russia attempted to influence the US election, the Reuters/Ipsos poll found.
However, only 32 percent of Republicans think so compared with 84 percent of Democrats.
The Reuters/Ipsos poll also revealed a distinct split among Republican and Democratic voters over whether Russia should be considered an adversary of the US.
Overall, 38 percent of registered voters agreed that Russia is an enemy of the US. About the same percentage considered Russia “a competitor,” while 8 percent said it was “a friend.”
However, half the Democrats said it was an enemy, while only about one in three Republicans considered it so.
Forty percent of Democrats described Russia as an imminent threat ,while only 14 percent of Republicans agreed.
Overall, 27 percent of registered voters considered Russia an imminent threat. Only North Korea got a higher response on that question, 31 percent.
The poll also asked Americans whether they think authorities would find evidence of an illegal relationship between the Trump administration and Russia. A slim majority, 51 percent, said it was likely, while 77 percent of Democrats and 19 percent of Republicans did.
The Reuters/Ipsos poll gathered responses from 1,011 registered voters throughout the nation, including 453 Republicans and 399 Democrats. The poll has a credibility interval, a measure of precision, of 4 percentage points.
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