Poll: On Russia, Majority of Americans – Except for Republicans – Back Congressional Inquiry into Election Hack

December 21, 2016

A just-completed Chicago Council Survey conducted December 16-18 finds that 51 percent of Republicans oppose a congressional inquiry into Russian interference in the U.S. elections. By contrast, majorities of Democrats (85 percent) and Independents (64 percent) – and 65 percent of the overall public – favor an investigation.

Views of Russia Decline to 30-Year Lows, Especially Among Democrats

The survey also shows a downturn in overall American views of Russia. When asked their feelings toward Russia on a temperature thermometer scale from 0 degrees (a very cold, unfavorable feeling) to 100 degrees (a very warm, favorable feeling), Americans rated Russia an average of 32 degrees, the lowest rating recorded in the last 30 years of Chicago Council Surveys. This represents a sharp 8-degree drop from June 2016, when Americans gave Russia an average rating of 40 degrees, and is lower even than readings in 2014 when Russia annexed Crimea.

  • Democrats in particular have shifted in a cooler direction, rating Russia on average 40 degrees last June to a chilly 28 degrees today. This is the second-lowest temperature rating of Russia ever recorded among Democrats, on par with Cold War-era ratings of 1978-1986.
  • Independents’ views of Russia also have dropped since June from an average rating of 42 degrees to a cooler 35 degrees in December, the lowest rating recorded for Russia among Independents since the Cold War.
  • Republicans rate Russia at about the same level now as in June (38 degrees in June, 35 degrees in December, within the margin of error), also near Cold War levels.


Americans Perceive Opposing Approaches but Would Welcome Cooperation

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ June 2016 survey found that roughly two in three Americans across party lines said that the United States and Russia were working in different rather than the same directions on ending the conflict in Syria, limiting Iran’s nuclear program and reducing nuclear weapons worldwide (even though at the time, the two countries were in fact cooperating on some of these issues).

These results suggest a lack of awareness about areas of U.S.-Russia cooperation rather than outright opposition to cooperation with Russia. The new December Chicago Council Survey results find that roughly eight in ten Americans said they would favor rather than oppose cooperation on ending the conflict in Syria (78 percent), limiting Iran’s nuclear program (79 percent) and reducing nuclear weapons worldwide (80 percent). There are very little if any differences across partisan groupings.

About the Chicago Council Survey
This Chicago Council Survey brief is based on data from an omnibus survey conducted by GfK Custom Research using their large-scale, nationwide online research panel between December 16-18, 2016, among a national sample of 1,005 adults, 18 years of age or older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. The margin of sampling error for the full sample is ±3.0 percentage points, and higher for partisan subgroups (±5.7 for Republicans, ±5.5 for Democrats, and ±5.0 for Independents).

The Chicago Council Survey is made possible by the generous support of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Korea Foundation and the personal support of Lester Crown and the Crown family.