Americans want talks not sanctions against Russia
Gallup asked a similar question in 1994, when an even larger margin preferred improving relations with Russia over sanctions, 76% to 20%. That poll was conducted after former CIA agent Aldrich Ames and his wife were arrested on charges of spying for Russia. Ames was later convicted of espionage.
The current poll, conducted Aug. 1-12, comes against a backdrop of concern about Russian interference in U.S. elections.
In a July summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Donald Trump appeared to dispute the U.S. intelligence community's findings that Russia attempted to influence the outcome of the election.
Meanwhile, independent counsel Robert Mueller is investigating possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.
Two-thirds of Americans say they are following the news about Russia and the 2016 U.S. presidential election closely, including 33% who say "very closely." That is slightly above the average 60% level of attention paid to more than 200 news stories Gallup has asked about since 1991.
Three-quarters of both Republicans and Democrats say they are following news about Russian involvement in the 2016 election very or somewhat closely, but Democrats are somewhat more likely to say they are following it "very closely," 42% to 33%. Independents are paying less attention: 59% are following it, including 28% who say very closely.
Seventy-five percent of Americans think Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, while 16% say it did not interfere.
Those who think Russia interfered are about equally split as to the effect - 36% say Russia interfered but it did not change the outcome, while 39% say it interfered and its actions changed the election outcome.
A slim majority of those following the news about the 2016 election very closely believe Russia interfered and it changed the outcome of the election. Most of the rest, 39%, believe Russia interfered, but it did not alter the outcome. ■