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The Zogby Poll: Trump supporters find more common ground with Russia

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As President Trump embarks on his first foreign tour, we looked at our January data for clues on how American voters see various somewhat adversarial countries and allies, especially in relation to Russia. A random nationwide online survey of a representative sample of 1,324 likely voters in the US was conducted from January 4- January 6, 2017. The margin of error for the sample is +/-2.7 percentage points.

First, we looked at "who is a better ally" match-ups between various countries and Russia. In most match-ups, a majority of Americans are not sure what country is a better ally. Among those who do have an opinion, Russia and Saudi Arabia and Russia and China come close to equals. Egypt is preferred as an ally by 31% (vs. 23% for Russia) and Mexico by 46% (vs. 20% for Russia).

Those who voted for Trump generally lean towards Russia more than average voters. Thus, Trump voters think Russia is a better ally than Saudi Arabia (33% vs. 18%) and Egypt (32% vs. 26%), compared to Hilary Clinton's voters (14% vs. 32% and 13% vs.39%, respectively). Trump voters believe Russia is a better ally than China by a 39% to 17% ratio, compared to a 14% to 34% ratio among Clinton voters. Mexico is the only country in our survey that is a preferred ally (compared to Russia) among Trump voters (40% vs. 28%).

In respect to Russia, President Trump is on the strongest ground when arguing that Americans and Russians can find a lot of common ground in fighting jihadism (60% of survey respondents agree with this view).Once again, those who voted for Trump tend to take a more positive view of Russia, with 72% agreeing that America and Russia can find a lot of common ground. However, 52% of Clinton voters also agree with this view.

Americans think that Vladimir Putin is popular among Russians (57% vs. 19% who disagree) and only 35% of voters agree (23% disagree and 42% are not sure) that if Russians had free press they would elect a leader that was pro-American (there are virtually no difference between Trump and Clinton voters on this question).

In addition, only 34% of American voters agree any country who wants to join NATO should be allowed in, compared to 38% who disagree. However American voters do lean, albeit with a slim margin, towards a view that the USA has a moral obligation to defend Russia's neighbors from Russia (38% agree and 34% disagree).

Once again, those who voted for Trump are more likely to take a view that is closer to how, in all likelihood, Russians and their president, Vladimir Putin, see the issue, than American voters as a whole. Only 26% of Trump supporters believe any country should be allowed to join NATO. The 12% difference compared to voters as a whole does not exist when a different question is asked - does the USA has a moral obligation to defend Russia's neighbors from Russia. This time, 38% of American voters and 37% of Trump voters agree with the statement.

Finally, despite rising misgivings about spreading democracy, American voters still believe that democracy benefits all countries: 54% believe that "every country is better-off being democratic" compared to 21% who disagree. On this topic, Trump voters are no different than American voters as a whole.

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Please click here to view the methodology.

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