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American attitudes soften on Putin and Russia, mainly from Republicans

Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) walks prior to a State Council meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow on December 27, 2016. / AFP / POOL / NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA (Photo credit should read NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA/AFP/Getty Images)

According to a new Gallup poll, opinion of Russian President Vladimir Putin has risen in America, and mostly due in part to Republican sentiments lightening.

Currently, the favorability rating for Putin sits at 22 percent. This is a noticeable rise since the last time this question was asked in 2015, when Americans had a 13 percent favorability rating of the Russian president.

While favorability has risen, Putin's unfavorability amongst Americans remains unchanged at 72 percent. The difference is that now, less people are saying they do not have an opinion of him.

As Gallup explains, the reason we're seeing this rise is due in most part to Republicans viewing Putin with less contempt due to Trump's wish that relations with Russia improve. This is simultaneously having a negative effect on the Democrats.

A major reason for the overall rise in Putin's favorable rating this year is Republicans' more positive views of the Russian leader, from 12% in 2015 to 32% today. This comes at a time when President Donald Trump wants to improve relations with Russia, after somewhat frosty relations between the two countries during Barack Obama's presidency. Independents' opinions of Putin also have grown more positive in the last two years, but to a lesser extent than Republicans'. Democrats' views have become slightly less positive, with just 10% viewing Putin favorably today.

How Americans view Putin is mirrored in their thoughts about Russia. 28 percent view the country favorably, while 70 percent view it unfavorably.

Once again, you can see a partisan divide, with Republicans and Democrats viewing Russia with 35 percent and 16 percent favorability rating respectively.

While Putin's star may be rising in America, he and his country still have a long way to go until they aren't viewed negatively by the vast majority of the country.


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