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Gallup poll: Putin's image improves in U.S.

By Allen Cone
Gallup poll: Putin's image improves in U.S.
Russian President Vladimir Putin's favorability rating among Americans has improved to 22 percent this year from 13 percent in 2015, according to a Gallup Poll conducted earlier this month. File Photo by Sergei Ilnitsky/EPA

Feb. 22 (UPI) -- Americans see Russian President Vladimir Putin in a more favorable light than two years ago, mostly among Republicans, according to a Gallup Poll.

The World Affairs survey was conducted from Feb. 1-5, two weeks after Donald Trump became U.S. president. The Republican has spoken favorably of the Russian leader and wants to improve relations with the country.

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Among all respondents, 22 percent say they have a favorable impression of Putin, compared with 13 percent in 2015. The figure now is the highest percentage for the Russian since 2003.

Putin's unfavorable rating is 72 percent.

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The previous poll was conducted in February 2015, a year after Russia's involvement in Crimea and the nation hosted the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

Since that time, Putin authorized military support for the Syrian government in the Middle East country's civil war and Russian allegedly tried to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election by hacking Democratic National Committee's computer servers.

Republicans have a more favorable image of Putin, rising from 12 percent in 2015 to 32 percent this year. Democrats' favorable views declined from 15 percent to 10 percent. Independents' number nearly doubled from 12 percent to 23 percent.

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Americans overall have similar views of Russia as a whole. Among the respondents, 28 percent view the country favorably and 70 percent unfavorably. In 2015, the favorable percentage also was 70 percent but the unfavorable percentage was 24 percent.

Gallup earlier this week released results from the same survey respondents answered about their impressions of 21 countries. Russia was near the bottom of the list of favorability in 15th. The least favorable country was North Korea at 11 percent.

Americans had much better views of Russia before 2015. It reached as high as 66 percent in 2002 and it was as low as 49 percent in 1995.

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Republicans are more positive than Democrats about Russia: 35 percent vs. 16 percent.

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted with 1,035 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. The margin of error is 4 percentage points.

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