Does the Kremlin have dirt on President Donald Trump? Half of American voters think so, according to a new poll.
Fifty-one percent of voters believe “the Russian government has compromising information about President Trump,” a Quinnipiac University national poll found. Thirty-five percent of Americans surveyed do not believe so.
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Speculation that Russian President Vladimir Putin has compromising information on Trump has long plagued the U.S. president. Russian meddling in the 2016 election is under federal investigation, and Trump’s reluctance to stand up to Putin on the world stage in Helsinki last week has only stoked questions.
“Whether it is with love or not, President Donald Trump’s relationship with Russia has delivered a small blow to his already poor standing with the American people,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. “Following his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Trump’s job approval is back below 40 percent again.”
Putin and Trump both denied the rumors at last week’s summit. During a joint news conference, Trump said his reasoning was that any compromising information would have been made public by now.
“We don’t have anything on them, and there can’t be anything on them,” Putin said in a Fox News interview that aired the night of the summit. “I don’t want to insult President Trump when I say this, and this may come off as rude, but before he announced that he would run for the presidency, he was of no interest for us.”
Trump has also repeatedly attacked a dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele that described a complex, multiyear effort by Russia to cultivate Trump and ultimately help him win the presidency. It later emerged that Steele’s work was partially funded by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic Party.
GOP voters largely agree with Trump: Seventy percent of Republicans don’t believe the Russian government has compromising information on him. Quinnipiac surveyed 1,177 voters from July 18 through July 23, just days after the summit. Republicans are the “only listed party, gender, education, age or racial group which does not believe it,” Quinnipiac said in a news release.
Among divided groups are white voters without a college degree, 44 percent of whom believe the Russians have something on Trump, while 43 percent do not. And 42 percent of white men believe Putin has dirt on Trump, while 43 percent do not, according to the poll.
The survey included additional questions about the Helsinki summit and the president’s performance. Most voters — 54 percent — agree the U.S. and Russia “share the blame” for the relationship between the two countries. The same percentage of respondents say the American president was not acting in the best interest of the United States. And 52 percent say the summit was a failure for the United States, while 73 percent say it was a success for Russia.
The poll, conducted via landlines and cellphones, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.