The Slatest

Poll Finds 71 Percent of Republicans Approve of Trump’s Handling of Russia, Even After Helsinki

Donald Trump at the meeting where he "clarified" his remarks on Russia on Tuesday.
Trump continues to lie and, inexplicably, Republicans continue to believe him. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

A new tracking poll from Reuters/ Ipsos on Tuesday showed that rank-and-file Republicans not only continue to support President Trump but refuse to believe he’s doing anything wrong. The most galling number from the survey is: 71 percent of Republicans approve of Trump’s handling of Russia. That support runs counter to much of the leadership of their own party, at minimum during the Helsinki summit. The poll was put into the field following the summit, so it should pick up any quiver of movement, but there still has not been a dip in GOP support for Trump’s Putin-loving approach.

Overall, more than half of those polled (55 percent) disapproved of Trump’s handling of Russia and agree (59 percent) with U.S. intelligence findings about Russian attempts to tamper with the 2016 election. But, also worrying, is the fact that only 32 percent of Republicans believe that Russia attempted to intervene in the election on Trump’s behalf, despite that being the unanimous conclusion of the intelligence community, as well as most of the serious Republican leadership.* The Democratic figures, predictably, are more or less the inverse of the GOP numbers. But the Republican support is pretty astonishing given the response to Trump’s soft touch with Putin. It drew rebukes from all corners, including Republican lawmakers, Fox News hosts, and even Trump allies, like Newt Gingrich. But it still hasn’t moved the needle, according to the Reuters poll.

Among the many worrying signs of late, the failure of Republican voters to internalize Trump’s transgressions shows the effectiveness of his logic-scrambling statements and a refusal to be cowed by reality, buttressed by a compliant Congress.

Here’s one recent Republican that disagrees:

*Update, July 20, 2018: This post originally stated that 32 percent of Republican poll respondents believed Russia tried to interfere in the 2016 election. The Reuters/IPSOS poll found that 32 percent of Republicans in the poll believed Russia interfered specifically to benefit Donald Trump. The post has been updated to reflect this distinction.