There's been a breathtaking swing in Putin's popularity among Republicans in the Trump era

Allan Smith

Vladimir Putin's favorability rating has taken an amazing turn among Republicans since President-elect Donald Trump began praising the Russian president.

According to a YouGov/Economist poll, Putin's favorability rating in July 2014, after the Russian annexation of Crimea, was negative-54 among Democrats and negative-66 among Republicans.

A poll from the same outlets released this month showed that Putin's favorability rating among Democrats dipped to negative-62. But the Russian leader's rating among Republicans improved dramatically, from negative-66 to negative-10.

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Taking a closer look, in the 2014 poll, 3% of Republicans had very favorable views of Putin in addition to 7% who had somewhat favorable views. That poll showed that 25% of Republicans had somewhat unfavorable views, while a whopping 51% had very unfavorable views of Putin.

The August 2016 poll showed that some of those numbers took a drastic swing.

In that survey, the percentage of Republicans who viewed him very unfavorably dipped from 51% to 14%, and those who viewed him somewhat favorably increased from 7% to 32%.

Calls for an investigation into Russia's role in the election reached a fever pitch following a pair of weekend stories from The Washington Post and New York Times that said a CIA assessment gave credence to the idea Russia meddled in the election by hacking and releasing information from Democratic operatives in hopes of leading Trump to victory.

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