Of all the countless polling results relating to the American election campaign, I have to single these out as the most fascinating:
PUTIN Net-Favorability (YouGov/Economist Poll) among…
July 2014: -54
Aug 2016: -54
July 2014: -66
Aug 2016: -27
— Will Jordan (@williamjordann) September 9, 2016
That’s right. In July 2014, Vladimir Putin’s net favorability was minus 54 percent among Democrats and minus 66 percent among Republicans.
Now, two years later, Putin is just as unpopular among Democrats but substantially less unpopular among Republicans.
Twenty-four percent of Republicans now have a very or somewhat favorable view of Putin compared to 13 percent of Democrats. And 46 percent of Democrats have a very unfavorable view of Putin compared to only 22 percent of Republicans.
Has Putin become any less corrupt, authoritarian, murderous, imperialist or anti-American since 2014? No, the opposite. Rather he has exchanged kind words and compliments with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump (as far as I can tell, neither has said one unkind word about the other) and now clearly wants to see him elected president.
“We are carefully watching what is happening in the United States and we, of course, view with sympathy those who publicly state that it is necessary to build a relationship with Russia, on basis of equality,” [Putin] told journalists at a briefing shown on television.
His remarks were a clear allusion to Trump, the outspoken Republican nominee, who has emphatically professed his readiness to work with Putin, and at one point even said the Russian strongman was much more of a leader than US President Barack Obama.
Trump admires a virtual dictator for being “more of a leader” than the president of a contentious democracy. And a disturbing number of Republicans are seemingly OK with that.
Update: And there’s this.
— Sopan Deb (@SopanDeb) September 21, 2016