The public is generally in favor of action against Russia, agreeing 46 percent to 24 percent that the U.S. government should impose sanctions. U.S. intelligence agencies say they have evidence Russian hackers intervened in the U.S. presidential election.
By a similar margin, 49 percent to 30 percent, Americans say they support the specific actions announced by Obama last week, including expelling 35 Russian operatives and closing two Russian facilities in the U.S.
Trump has repeatedly questioned Russia's role in the hacking of the Democratic National Committee, and has praised Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision not to retaliate against U.S. sanctions by expelling American diplomats from Russia. Trump tweeted that he “always knew [Putin] was very smart!”
The Obama administration is betting, however, that Trump will not seek to reverse the sanctions. Lifting the punishments would put the incoming president at odds with GOP leaders, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, (R-Wis.), who called Obama’s moves “overdue” but “appropriate.”
Forty-two percent of Americans say Trump should keep the sanctions against Russia, with 26 percent saying he should remove them. Opinions are divided along partisan lines, and even more sharply along the 2016 election fault lines.
People who voted for Hillary Clinton are 66 percentage points more likely than those who voted for Trump ― 82 percent to 16 percent ― to say that Trump should keep the sanctions against Russia in place.
The gap between Democrats and Republicans on maintaining the sanctions was 41 points.
Eighty-six percent of Clinton voters and 71 percent of Democrats approve of Obama’s sanctions, compared with 37 percent of Republicans and 23 percent of Trump voters.
Although few Trump voters approve of Obama’s dealings with Russia, they’re split on what he should have done differently. Thirty percent say that Obama has been too tough on Russia, and 35 percent that he has not been tough enough.
Even those Trump voters who say Obama wasn’t tough enough on Russia, however, also say by a 9-point margin that Trump should lift the sanctions after taking office.
Clinton voters, who hold deeply negative views toward Russia, are divided in a different way, with 46 percent saying that Obama’s posture toward Russia has been about right, and 37 percent that he has not been tough enough.
The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted Jan. 1 to Jan. 3 among U.S. adults, using a sample selected from YouGov’s opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population.
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