Polls: Positive opinions of Russia, Putin plunge
February 13th, 2014
11:59 AM ET
6 months ago

Polls: Positive opinions of Russia, Putin plunge

(CNN) - As Russia hosts the Winter Olympic Games, a second straight national poll indicates that Americans' opinions of Russia have plunged.

According to a Gallup poll released Thursday, six out of 10 Americans have an unfavorable view of Russia, with just 34% holding a favorable view of the country. That's a switch from 2012, when 44% had an unfavorable view and half the public had a favorable opinion of Russia.

The Gallup survey is similar to a CNN/ORC International poll released last week that indicated that Americans' unfavorable opinions of Russia jumped from 40% in 2011 to 55% now, with favorable views of the country dropping from 57% in 2011 to 41% now.

Headlines involving Russia over the past year may be contributing to the steep decline in the country's favorable ratings among Americans.

"In the past year, Russia has faced scrutiny for granting former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden asylum, involving itself in the Syrian civil war, and restricting gay and lesbian civil rights. The threat of terrorism at the Olympics and the allegedly substandard conditions at the Winter Games have also been big media stories in the past several months," said a release by Gallup.

"There are probably plenty of reasons to dislike Russia, but one drag on the country's image in the U.S. is the Russian law concerning public comments in favor of gays and lesbians.  That law is wildly unpopular in the U.S.; only 13% of Americans think this country should have a similar law, with 86% opposing it," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "And then there is the perception that Russia will not be able to prevent a terrorist attack at the Olympics.  57% say that a terrorist attack is likely in Sochi over the next few weeks."

The unfavorable rating of Russia is at an all-time high in Gallup polling, since the organization began asking about Russia soon after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

No love for Putin

The polls indicate Americans have the same low regard for Russia's president, Vladimir Putin. His unfavorable rating in the Gallup poll stands at 63%, up nine points from last year, with his favorable rating at a low 19%, unchanged from a year ago. Those numbers are similar to the CNN survey, which indicated Putin with a 20%-54% favorable/unfavorable rating.

"Putin was one of the least popular foreign leaders tested in the CNN/ORC poll, behind only Fidel Castro and Kim Jong Un," Holland added.

The poll was conducted for CNN by ORC International from Jan. 31-February 2, with 1,010 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

The Gallup poll was conducted Feb. 6-9, with 1,018 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus four percentage points.

The CNN/ORC poll was conducted entirely before the February 7 opening ceremonies at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The Gallup survey was conducted partially before the start of the Olympic games.

soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Dean

    There is absolutely nothing that Russia does well.

    February 13, 2014 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  2. Reggie53

    Does CNN really think that the Russians and Putin care about how Americans feel about them???

    February 13, 2014 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  3. O'drama ya Mama

    The only Americans that favor Putin are Republicans. Notice how they were routing for Putin during the whole Syria thing over our own President. It really makes you wonder especially when they love to call Obama a dictator.

    February 13, 2014 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  4. rs

    That 34% is well within the measure of the TEA Party folks who seemed so enthralled with Mr. Putin last year- especially over the LGBT issues, thinking Snowden a "hero", and wanting to get involved with Syria. Perhaps they are the only people left holding a favorable opinion of him. How ironic.

    February 13, 2014 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  5. bill

    putin and obama??? let me think on this one-both are being found out for who they really are???? obama is out to have a ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT at the expense of america-putin is out to make the world a ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT???? wow. READ REVELATION--COULD IT BE/???? GONE WITH THE WIND.

    February 13, 2014 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    That brown/yelllow/orange water made a real great impression on the whole world. Russia still has a very long way to come. Sure told me I don't want to visit there!

    February 13, 2014 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  7. Wes

    Looks like obama and Russia have the same approval numbers.

    February 13, 2014 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  8. Rick McDaniel

    Judging people by U.S. standards will make many countries subject to criticism by Americans. The thing Americans forget, is they are being criticized, as well, by those other countries, and among those criticisms, is how we have allowed a dictator to take over our country.

    February 13, 2014 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  9. tom l

    @rs
    "That 34% is well within the measure of the TEA Party folks who seemed so enthralled with Mr. Putin last year.."
    ====

    That's a mischaracterization at best, an outright fabrication at worst. I know that it's a common trait for liberals that if someone says something negative about our president, they take it to mean that they are in support of the other side. That's not the case so perhaps I can give you a different perspective that isn't so lathered up in the "dems vs repubs" – the people were critical of Obama and felt that Putin did a better job of negotiating. That's all. That doesn't mean they "like him" or "worship him" as is often the case of a liberal's portrayal of the events. All it means is that Putin looked more like he was in charge of the situation and made Obama look irrelevant to the crisis. The liberals on here had the portrayal of Obama as doing a great job in the negotiations so it's basically in the eye of the beholder. And, by the way, only 11% of the weapons have been removed and the due date for all removal was earlier this week so I'm not sure how successful this was on either side.

    Does that make sense?

    February 13, 2014 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  10. Wake up People!

    Surely this poll has to be wrong. Why so many of our lovely posters right here were cheering Putin on just a few short months ago. They were relishing his perceived victory of the POTUS.

    February 13, 2014 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  11. tom l

    "The only Americans that favor Putin are Republicans. Notice how they were routing for Putin during the whole Syria thing over our own President. It really makes you wonder especially when they love to call Obama a dictator."
    ==

    Once again, that is not the case. Why would they root for them? That just doesn't make any sense and those feelings are all harbored by the "dems vs. repubs" crud that the politicians have been so good to get all of us to do. What you call "rooting" was actually just plain criticism. Not one person said "yay Putin!" or the equivalent. Every criticism just simply said they felt that he was out negotiating Obama and that appears to be the case. If you were to ask repubs "do you have a favorable view of Putin" the number would be overwhelmingly against it (meaning they have an unfavorable view). It just appears to me that liberals can't handle criticism and don't know how to react to it in any other way than to lash out with ridiculous statements like yours.

    February 13, 2014 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  12. tom l

    rs,
    To show you how off you are, that "34%" was about the country of Russia and not about Putin so you have misrepresented the information to fit your point.

    February 13, 2014 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  13. Smitty

    Its scary that Putin has saved us from a war due to Oblunders dumb red line statement. Putin hunts, shoots etc, our guy wears yellow shorts and tassels, yes we have become the butt end of jokes for the world.

    February 13, 2014 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  14. Silence DoGood

    @tom l
    @rs
    "That 34% is well within the measure of the TEA Party folks who seemed so enthralled with Mr. Putin last year.."
    ====

    That's a mischaracterization at best, an outright fabrication at worst. I know that it's a common trait for liberals that if someone says something negative about our president, they take it to mean that they are in support of the other side. That's not the case so perhaps I can give you a different perspective that isn't so lathered up in the "dems vs repubs" – the people were critical of Obama and felt that Putin did a better job of negotiating. That's all. That doesn't mean they "like him" or "worship him" as is often the case of a liberal's portrayal of the events. All it means is that Putin looked more like he was in charge of the situation and made Obama look irrelevant to the crisis. The liberals on here had the portrayal of Obama as doing a great job in the negotiations so it's basically in the eye of the beholder. And, by the way, only 11% of the weapons have been removed and the due date for all removal was earlier this week so I'm not sure how successful this was on either side.

    Does that make sense?
    -----------–
    If look at similarities, I would put the Tea Party in likenesses much closer to the Taliban. Not only are they in agreement concerning gays, but also women's "place", violence to overthrow governments, removing unsanctioned subjects from school, fabricating history, keeping a large poor working class to use as they wish, and setting up religious Theocracy.

    February 13, 2014 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |