Overall, about one-in three Americans (29%) currently call Russia “an adversary” and an additional 44% consider it a “serious problem, but not an adversary”; just 24% say it is “not a problem.”
But for the first time in Pew Research Center surveys dating back to 2008, Democrats are significantly more likely than Republicans to view Russia as a geopolitical adversary. And even as Americans’ views of Vladimir Putin remain deeply negative, there is now a partisan gap in these opinions.
About four-in-ten (38%) Democrats and Democratic leaners now consider Russia an adversary, while about as many (42%) call it a serious problem, and just 17% say it is not a problem. By contrast, only 20% of Republicans and Republican leaners call Russia an adversary, while 45% say it is a serious problem, but not an adversary. Nearly a third of Republicans (32%) say that Russia is not a problem.
This marks the largest share of Democrats that have considered Russia an adversary, and among the smallest share of Republicans saying this, in surveys dating back to 2008. In fact, Republicans were more likely than Democrats to view Russia as an adversary as recently as last spring.
And while Putin remains an unpopular figure among the U.S. public, with just 19% of Americans viewing him favorably and 69% giving him an unfavorable rating, fewer Republicans now express dislike of the Russian president than in the past, while the share of Democrats with an unfavorable impression of him has increased.
Currently, 27% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents have a favorable view of Putin, up from just 11% two years ago. By comparison, 11% of Democrats and Democratic leaners view Putin favorably today, little changed since February 2015, although the share of Democrats viewing Putin unfavorably has risen from 69% then to 79% now.