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Americans' Opinions On Putin And Russia Improve

A Gallup poll shows an increase in the percentage of Americans with a favorable view of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The results of the world affairs survey conducted between Feb. 1 and 5 showed 22 percent viewed Putin favorably, while 72 percent had a negative opinion of him, Gallup reports.

When Americans were last asked about their view of the Russian president in February 2015, only 13 percent said they had a positive opinion of him.

President Donald Trump has indicated his readiness to reach a deal with Russia, a fact Gallup believes has increased support for Putin. Among Republicans, 32 percent have a favorable view of the Russian leader, compared to only 10 percent of Democrats.

Putin's personal fortunes have shifted significantly over the past 15 years. When Gallup first asked about the opinions of Americans towards the Russian president in 2002, 41 percent said they had a positive opinion of him, while 41 percent said they had not heard of him before, and 18 percent disapproved of him. At the time, he was serving his first term as president. 

On Russia, 28 percent of Americans said they viewed the country favorably, while 70 percent stated they did not, according to Gallup's latest poll.

U.S. intelligence agencies have alleged Russia conducted a hacking operation to disrupt the 2016 elections and suggested Putin was involved.

Russian politicians hope the Trump presidency will improve relations between the two countries. They are preparing carefully for the first meeting between Trump and Putin, although a date has not been finalized.

"Very serious preparatory work is going on in the Kremlin, including a paper -- seven pages -- describing a psychological portrait of Trump, especially based on this last two to three months, and the last weeks," former Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Fedorov told NBC News.

Fedorov noted that Trump's conflict with the media was "worrying us."

During the election campaign, Trump stated he was in favor of better ties with Russia. However, during an interview with Fox earlier in February, the president noted that while he respects Putin, "that doesn't mean I'm going to get along with him."

Pressure is mounting for Trump after the creation of a commission, which has support from both Democrats and Republicans, to investigate alleged Russian involvement in the presidential elections.

Sources: Gallup, NBC News / Photo credit: The Kremlin

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