In a recent poll of the Russian public, the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds Russians’ attitudes toward the United States and President Barack Obama are extremely unfavorable and have grown sharply more negative in the last couple of years. While opinions toward the European Union also worsened, Russians increasingly view China favorably. Russians see China as an ally and the United States and the European Union as adversaries; however, most Russians believe their country should make at least some effort to improve its relationship with the United States and the European Union. Many Russians want their country to be active in global affairs, and they believe hosting the 2014 Winter Olympics and 2018 World Cup improves their country’s international image. However, the public is divided over the impacts of these international sporting events on the Russian economy.
The survey, funded by NORC at the University of Chicago, also shows that a majority of Russians do not think society should accept lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) people, and the results indicate the public has grown less tolerant of LGBT people in the last two years.
The AP-NORC Center directed this study to explore the Russian public’s attitudes toward both domestic and international affairs, and it includes a nationally representative in-person survey of 2,008 Russian adults between November 22 and December 7, 2014. This reports highlights findings about Russians’ opinions toward foreign affairs and social issues at a time of increasing tension between Russia and Western nations.
Five Things You Should Know
From the AP-NORC Russia Poll
- Sixty-five percent of Russians hold an unfavorable view of the United States, more than double the proportion who held such views in 2012. Only 2 percent hold a favorable view of President Obama, down from 15 percent in 2012.
- Compared with 2012, Russians express increasingly unfavorable opinions of the European Union while their impressions of China grow more positive.
- Despite the negative sentiment toward the United States and the European Union, most Russians believe their country should make at least some effort to improve relations with each.
- A majority of Russians believe the country is a stronger international power than 10 years ago, and about 2 in 3 say Russia should play a more active role in world affairs.
- Russians have become less tolerant of LGBT individuals since 2012, with a majority saying that LGBT individuals should not be accepted by society.