February 21, 2018 | By Dina Smeltz

ICYMI: Recent Council Surveys on Russia-US Relations

New polls are in from Russia and the US and again their findings offer a mixed bag: a grim outlook on the future of US-Russian relations and glimmers of hope for engagement on mutual interests. 

Last year, Russians and Americans alike thought that Donald Trump would improve US-Russian relations. Russians have since realized this will not be the case (51% think US-Russian relations haven’t changed under Trump). Instead, mistrust abounds as both sides think the other is trying to influence their domestic affairs (78% of Russians think the US tries to influence its domestic affairs, 69% of Americans think Russia tries to influence its domestic affairs). And while the majority of Russians think their country needs to improve relations with the US and other Western countries (75%), they remain largely unwilling to see their government make concessions in exchange for lifting US sanctions. This does not bode well for the relationship as Americans are committed to maintaining (39%) or increasing these sanctions (38%).
 

Where do Russians and Americans agree? Neither see a settlement to the Syrian Civil War with Assad remaining president as ideal; more Russians oppose (49 percent) than support (27 percent) using Russian troops to prevent his overthrow. And while more than two-thirds of Americans would support a settlement to the Syrian crisis that establishes a new leader (70%), only a quarter would support a settlement that allows Assad to remain in power (25%). Per usual, matters of international security is where Americans and Russians most agree. Both publics believe that international terrorism (75% Americans, 70% Russians), nuclear proliferation (62% Americans, 52% Russians), and Islamic fundamentalism (59% Americans, 52% Russians) pose a critical threat to their countries’ interests over the next ten years.

Read more in the Council’s three issue briefs on the US-Russian relationship, American and Russian views on sanctions, and American and Russian views on the crisis in Syria and North Korea’s nuclear program. And stay tuned: these briefs are the first in a two-year project, generously funded by the Carnegie Corporation, to study the US-Russian relationship through the lens of public and elite opinion.

About

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs highlights critical shifts in American public thinking on US foreign policy through public opinion surveys and research conducted under the Lester Crown Center on US Foreign Policy. 

The annual Chicago Council Survey, first conducted in 1974, is a valuable resource for policymakers, academics, media, and the general public. The Council also surveys American leaders in government, business, academia, think tanks, and religious organizations biennially to compare trends in their thinking with overall trends. And collaborating with partner organizations, the survey team periodically conducts parallel surveys of public opinion in other regions of the world to compare with US public opinion. 

The Running Numbers blog features regular commentary and analysis from the Council’s public opinion and US foreign policy research team, including a series of flash polls of a select group of foreign policy experts to assess their opinions on critical foreign policy topics driving the news.

Archive

#TBT: That Time We All Feared Chemical and Biological Weapons

In the spirit of Throw Back Thursday, Running Numbers is digging out its archived polls to look back at America’s foreign policy feelings of old. This week, we’re looking at Council data on Americans' perceptions of the threat posed by chemical and biological weapons in the late 90s and early 00s.



| By Dina Smeltz

​Polls Measure So Much More than Voting Intentions

The polling community took a lot heat following the failure of forecasters and data journalists to predict Trump's triumph in the 2016 election. But polls measure so much more than voting intentions says Council senior fellow Dina Smeltz.


| By Karl Friedhoff, Craig Kafura

Public Opinion in the US and China

There is perhaps no more important bilateral relationship in the world today than the one between the United States and China—the world’s two most important players in terms of economics and security. Where do the Chinese and American publics stand on key issues in the relationship, and what policies do they want to see their respective nations pursue worldwide? 



| By Diana C. Mutz

How Trade Attitudes Changed from 2012-2016

Trade was an important issue in the recent presidential election, but not in the way the media and many prominent observers have led us to believe.  The dominant narrative in the media was that disgruntled manufacturing workers whose jobs had been sent overseas emerged, understandably, as trade’s strong opponents, thus making Trump with his strong anti-trade rhetoric their natural ally.


Who Run the World? Foreign Policy Attitudes on Women and Girls

In partnership with the New America Foundation, the 2016 Chicago Council Survey included two questions developed to provide better insight about the importance of promoting women's rights and women's participation in societies around the world. 




| By Dina Smeltz

The US-Russian Relationship

The 2016 Chicago Council Survey partnered with the Levada Analytical Center in Moscow to ask Americans and Russians how they feel about each other and—more importantly—each other’s government. 


| By Richard C. Eichenberg

Gender Difference in Foreign Policy Opinions: Implications for 2016

There are three patterns in American politics that take on special significance in 2016: the gender divide in Presidential elections; the low support for Donald Trump among women; and the growing discussion in the foreign policy community about the inclusion of women in the policy process. Nonresident fellow Richard Eichenberg explores the extent of gender difference in the 2016 Chicago Council Survey data and assesses the relevance of any differences to this year’s presidential election.