Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin arrive for a meeting in Helsinki, on July 16, 2018. (Getty/Brendan Smialowski)

Poll: More than half of Americans think Russia’s Vladimir Putin has dirt on President Donald Trump

However, an overwhelming majority of Republicans do not believe the Kremlin has “compromising information” on Trump


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Shira Tarlo
July 25, 2018 9:00am (UTC)

More than half of American voters believe that Russian President Vladimir Putin has dirt on U.S. President Donald Trump, according to the findings of a national poll.

Fifty-one percent of respondents to the Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday say they believe "that the Russian government has compromising information about President Trump," while 35 percent said they do not.

The percentage of affirmative responses ticked down slightly from 53 percent back two months ago in April.

Among Republicans, an overwhelming majority — 70 percent — do not believe that the Kremlin has anything on Trump. Seventy-four percent of Democrats, 55 percent of Independents and 55 percent of women all say otherwise.

Meanwhile, white voters without a college degree and white men were nearly evenly split on the statement.

Fifty-two percent of voters also say that Trump's recent summit with Putin in Helsinki, Finland, was a failure for the country. Seventy-three percent consider it to be a win for Russia.

More than half of voters — 54 percent — also say Trump did not act in the best interest of his nation while in Finland.

"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."

Quinnipiac University polled 1,177 American voters between July 18 and July 23. The poll has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.

The survey was administered as Trump faced intense backlash from politicians and media pundits of all political strips for his performance at a joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, during which he asserted that he believed Putin's denials of Russian election interference over the findings of the U.S. intelligence community.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who has consistently criticized Trump's stance toward Russia, said it was "one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory."

"President Trump proved not only unable but unwilling to stand up to Putin," McCain said. "He and Putin seemed to be speaking from the same script, as the president made a conscious choice to defend a tyrant against the fair questions of a free press and to grant Putin an uncontested platform to spew propaganda and lies to the world."

A former CIA director, John Brennan, called Trump’s performance "nothing short of treasonous."

Even the co-hosts on the set of "Fox & Friends," the president's favorite morning show, said that Trump "fell short" of what was required of him.

As controversy mounted over his assertion that he believed Putin's word over the findings of the U.S. intelligence community, Trump attempted to walk back his remarks, in part by claiming that "other people" could have also meddled in the 2016 election.

In a reversal, Trump later claimed to the world that he had simply misspoken by one word during his press conference in Finland. The president explained that he had intended to say he did not see any reason why it "wouldn't" be Russia – a double negative.

"I thought that I made myself very clear, but having just reviewed the transcript, I realized that there is a need for some clarification," Trump said at the White House. "The sentence should have been, 'I don't see any reason why I wouldn't, or why it wouldn’t be Russia.'"

Although Trump touched off a major political controversy with his embrace of Putin's word over the conclusions of his own national intelligence community, he recently invited his Russian counterpart to Washington for another meeting this fall.

In a recent series of tweets, the president said that he is "looking forward" to meeting again with Putin to "begin implementing" the issues they discussed during their summit in Finland.

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Shira Tarlo

Contact Shira Tarlo at shira.tarlo@salon.com. Follow @shiratarlo.

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