Americans fear Russian threat - poll

  • 14/01/2017

Americans are more concerned than they were before the 2016 US presidential campaign began about the potential threat Russia poses to the country, according to a new poll.

The January 9-12 survey found that 82 percent of American adults, including 84 percent of Democrats and 82 percent of Republicans, described Russia as a general "threat" to the United States.

That's up from 76 percent in March 2015 when the same questions were asked in a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll.

The increased concern comes after a brutal election season during which Democrats and others raised questions about President-elect Donald Trump's financial ties to Russia and the US intelligence community accused Russia of engaging in cyber attacks during the election.

Mr Trump, who has repeatedly praised Russian President Vladimir Putin as a strong leader and signalled during his campaign that he might take a softer line in dealing with Moscow, only recently accepted that Russia committed the hacks after receiving detailed briefings from intelligence officials.

The poll asked people to rate Russia and a slew of other countries on a five-point scale ranging from "no threat" to "imminent threat."

It found that Americans were more likely to label Russia a threat than they were Iran, Syria, China, Saudi Arabia, Cuba or Yemen. Only North Korea ranked higher, with 86 percent of Americans labelling it as a threat.

Some 25 percent of Americans gave Russia the highest concern, labelling it an "imminent threat".

"Russia is back to the old days of the Cold War," said Oneita Wilkins, 69, a Republican who lives in a suburb of New Orleans, who rated Russia an "imminent threat".

The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online in English in all 50 states.

It included 1,169 American adults, including 490 Democrats and 475 Republicans.