One in three Russians (34%) firmly believes that Russian-US relations will improve, if Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump wins the US presidential election in November, according to an opinion poll conducted from July 9 to July 16 by the national public opinion studies center, VTsIOM.
The bulk of those who expect an improvement between the two countries, are largely followers of the Communist Party (48%). Adherents to this viewpoint are slightly less among supporters of parties not represented in parliament (40%), A Just Russia (37%), the Liberal Democratic Party (34%) and United Russia (36%). Another 12% of those surveyed suspect that Trump’s win may bring about a worsening in Russian-US relations. As for how well Russians are familiar with Trump’s personality, 60% said they have no idea of who the man is. Only one in five Russians know that he is an American tycoon.
Should Trump’s rival, Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton emerge victorious, this would make a majority of Russians skeptical about any improvement in bilateral relations. Roughly 53% of those polled believe that a Clinton victory would bring about a further strain in relations between Russia and the US. This viewpoint is shared by 69% of A Just Russia supporters, 53% of United Russia’s electorate, 52% of LDPR backers and 57% of those whose political preferences are distributed among parties not represented in parliament. A minuscule 6% of Russians said that Russian-US relations may get better if Clinton wins. Forty-one percent know nothing about the Democratic candidate, while 26% replied that Clinton is the former First Lady of the US.
Over the past eight years the amount of Russians who believe the outcome of the US presidential election is important has grown to 59% from 51% in 2008; 41% of Russians keep track of the US election race on a more or less regular basis (in contrast to 36% in 2008); and one in two (58%) shows no particular interest in it (as opposed to 61% in 2008) whatsoever.
“Russians’ attention to the presidential election in the United States is growing as the decisive battle draws near. Out of the two candidates they obviously prefer Trump. This eccentric and energetic billionaire looks more appealing to them than Hillary Clinton, who is remembered here primarily for her rigid anti-Russian policies pursued while she was US Secretary of State,” says VTsIOM chief, Valery Fyodorov. “It is not the candidate’s image but the logic of national interests that Russians tend to rely on when asked to indicate which candidate they like. They believe that their national interests will be better protected, if Trump becomes president.”
The public opinion center questioned an audience of 1,600 adult men and women spanning 130 communities and cities in 46 regions in Russia’s nine federal districts. The statistical error margin did not exceed 3.5%.