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

| By Dina Smeltz, Craig Kafura

Americans Support Limited Military Action in Syria

The 2016 Chicago Council Survey, conducted June 10-27, reveals that Americans across partisan lines support limited military actions in Syria that combine air strikes and the use of Special Operations Forces. There are deep partisan divides on accepting Syrian refugees, and widespread skepticism toward arming anti-government groups or negotiating a deal that would leave President Assad in power. 



| By Dina Smeltz, Karl Friedhoff, Craig Kafura

Republicans Back Trump, but Not All of his Policies

If the general election were held today, a solid majority of Republicans (including self-described Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents) say they would vote for Mr. Trump in the presidential contest against Secretary Clinton. But Donald Trump was not the top choice for many Republicans among the full field of primary candidates. While eventually deciding to back Trump, those who were hoping for a different nominee are not endorsing some of Trump’s key positions.


| By Karl Friedhoff

Flare-ups in Taiwan-China Relations Here to Stay

The China-Taiwan relationship may be due for flare-ups in the coming years, and China's recent decision to suspend diplomatic contact with Taiwan could set the tone for the short-term direction of cross-strait relations. But polling suggests that the Taiwanese public prefers a pragmatic approach to relations with China, limiting the publicly palatable options facing Taiwan's President Tsai, Karl Friedhoff writes.


Nuclear Energy: Americans Favor Stagnation

How do Americans feel about nuclear energy? From Chernobyl to Homer Simpson, nuclear energy doesn’t have a stunning reputation, but until recently polls showed a majority of Americans favor its use for energy. In fact it appears that support for nuclear energy is linked with energy availability and that Americans would rather develop other energy sources.






The British Debate on Nuclear Disarmament

Last month the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, a UK group founded in 1958, held its largest rally since 1983. Yet disarmament remains unpopular amongst the general public. 



| By Karl Friedhoff

NYPD Union Takes to the Polls

Karl Friedhoff looks at a survey conducted by the New York City Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, which finds high levels of dissatisfaction among its members. But publicly available surveys of officers appear to be rare.

| By Craig Kafura

O Canada! Public Opinion and the US-Canada Relationship

Canada’s newly-elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, son of former Canadian PM Pierre Trudeau, recently enjoyed a successful state visit to the United States. While Canadian prime ministers don’t visit the United States as frequently as they used to, that doesn’t mean American enthusiasm for Canada has flagged.

| By Dina Smeltz

Iran Is Holding Elections, Too

Iran is holding parliamentary and Assembly of Experts elections tomorrow. A recent University of Maryland survey of the Iranian public found that six in ten Iranians prefer that most of the parliament to be composed of the supporters of President Hassan Rouhani.