(CNN)This week’s high profile summit between President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin was markedly different from the meetings between Putin and Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump. The former President was largely seen as friendly toward Putin, while Biden is definitely not.
In fact, Trump was so friendly with Putin that he took an issue (Russia) that was either bipartisan or one on which Republicans were more skeptical and turned it into a partisan one, with Republicans more inclined to be on Russia’s side. That still holds true today.
Let’s start with basic favorability ratings. A quarter (25%) of Republicans viewed Russia favorably in a Gallup poll taken in February. Just 16% of Democrats did. This is about the same as it was last year when 27% of Republicans and 16% of Democrats had a favorable view toward Russia.
To put this 25% of Republicans who like Russia in perspective, only about 10% of Republicans hold a favorable view of Biden in Gallup polling.
The partisan split on Russia is far different from what we had seen previously. From 1974 to 1994 and 2013 to 2016 in Gallup and General Social Survey data, Democrats and Republicans pretty much always had the same favorable rating of Russia (or the Soviet Union). The maximum difference (near the end of the Cold War in 1985) was when Democrats were 7 points more likely to hold a favorable view of the Soviet Union than Republicans were.
The partisan split holds for Putin himself. Like with Russia, Americans of all stripes haven’t had a lot of confidence in Putin doing the right thing in world affairs in recent years. Republicans, however, were more likely to hav
Analysis: How Trump turned Russia into a partisan issue
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