Overall, nearly 8-in-10 say they have been closely following news about Russia’s attempts to influence the US presidential election last year, including 84% of Democrats, 75% of independents and 72% of Republicans. But the partisan agreement ends there.
Majorities say that if the assessment were to prove true, these attempts would be a crisis or major problem for the US (65% say so), and that the outcome of the election would have been the same regardless of the information released (58% say that). Further, 56% say that despite this situation, the US ought to continue its efforts to improve relations with Russia rather than take strong economic and diplomatic steps against Russia.
But there is less agreement on whether the intelligence community’s conclusions are correct. About 43% say it is extremely or very likely that the intelligence community’s assessment is correct, with another 32% saying that is somewhat likely. About one-quarter, 24%, say it’s unlikely to be true. Democrats are more likely to think the intelligence community’s assessment is correct: 74% of Democrats see that as very or extremely likely, compared with 17% of Republicans.
And partisanship colors views on how big a problem Russian attempts to influence US elections are. Among Democrats, 84% consider it a crisis or major problem compared with just 37% of Republicans. Democrats are also more likely than Republicans to say that information was significant enough to change the result of the election (65% say so vs. just 10% of Republicans).
Among independents, 65% say that if the intelligence community is correct it would be a major problem for the country, but they tend to doubt that it is true, with just 37% saying it’s very likely to be correct and 38% that it could have changed the outcome of the election.
The public is split overall and along partisan lines on whether President-elect Donald Trump will be tough enough on Russia after he’s taken the oath of office Friday, with 47% thinking he’ll be too easy on them, and 43% saying he’ll be about right. Another 8% think he will be too tough toward Russia. Among Democrats, 75% say he’ll be too easy, while 80% of Republicans say his approach will be about right.
There’s a far narrower — though seemingly meaningful — partisan divide in opinions on Russian President Vladimir Putin. Overall, just 12% have a favorable view of Putin, among the lowest ratings found among the 11 world leaders tested in the poll. While 71% overall and majorities across party lines express a negative read on Putin, 23% of Republicans have a favorable view compared with 11% of independents and 4% of Democrats. In December 2014, there was no partisan split in impressions of Putin, with 11% of Democrats, 11% of Republicans and 10% of independents saying they saw him positively.
The CNN/ORC Poll was conducted by telephone January 12-15 among a random national sample of 1,000 adults. Results for the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points; it is higher for subgroups.