A new poll released on Dec. 14 finds that those who voted for President-elect Donald Trump are warming up to Russia and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The Economist/YouGov Poll says that the percentage of Trump supporters who see Russia as unfriendly or as an enemy dropped from 67 percent after the RNC/DNC conventions in August to 56 percent in December. In a poll of all Americans, only 1 in 5 think of Russia as an ally or a friend.
Thirty-five percent of Trump voters have a favorable view of Putin, while 8 percent of voters for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton like the Russian president.
Two senior U.S. intelligence officials told NBC News on Dec. 15 with "a high level of confidence" that Putin was personally involved in deciding how hacked content from the Democrats should be leaked to influence the U.S. presidential election. The officials said the hacked material was provided by diplomatic sources and spies who are supposedly working for allies of the U.S.
A high-level intelligence source said Putin has a "vendetta" against Clinton, who supported the sanctions against Russia by the Obama administration in defense of Ukraine. The source also said Putin wanted to "split off key American allies by creating the image that [other countries] couldn't depend on the U.S. to be a credible global leader anymore."
It's not clear if Russia was working directly with WikiLeaks, which released tons of hacked content from Democratic Party leaders, but the Economist/YouGov Poll shows that 27 percent of Republicans favor WikiLeaks, which is a staggering shift from June 2013 when 47 percent didn't like the hacktivist group.
Business Insider notes: "Russian President Vladimir Putin has emerged as a hero of several prominent alt-right figures, raising new questions about the Kremlin's influence on the far-right, white nationalist movement that has asserted itself as a new force in American politics."