More than 9 in 10 Americans (92%) said they have little or no confidence in Putin’s handling of world affairs, compared with 6% who said they had at least some confidence.
That is a drastic change from 16 years ago, when less than a majority of Americans — 45% — said they had little or no confidence in Putin, while one-third said they had at least some confidence. (In 2006, 22% didn’t provide an answer, compared with just 1% in 2022.)
Views of Putin’s Russia have turned similarly negative — and rapidly.
In a Pew poll from January, 49% of Americans described Russia as a “competitor,” while 41% said Russia was an “enemy” of the United States. In March, 70% of Americans called Russia an enemy, while 24% said Russia was a competitor, according to Pew. (Another 3% saw Russia as a “partner,” which, well, whaaaaaat?!?)
That clarity of public opinion on Russia and its motives should strengthen President Joe Biden’s hand as he seeks to deal with the crisis. The US is remarkably unified on that front — a rarity in such a deeply polarized environment.
It also shines a particularly harsh light on the praise that former President Donald Trump and some of his allies lavished on Putin at the start of the conflict. There seems to be little appetite among the American public for people who see Putin in anything but a negative light.
One other note: These numbers also suggest that Putin’s years of spade work to paint Russia as something short of an enemy toward America have been made utterly meaningless.
The Point: Russia — and Putin — have shown Americans who they are. And Americans believe them.