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‘Republican Numbers Don’t Budge’: New Poll Finds GOP Voters Largely Approve of Trump’s Handling of Russia

Trump advisor Newt Gingrich called the president’s handling of the recent Helsinki summit with Russian president Putin “the most serious mistake of his presidency.” The broader Republican base, it appears, would beg to differ.

According to a new NBC/WSJ poll, 53% of Republicans approve of Trump’s handling of Russia. What’s more, the poll, which was conducted in part before the summit and the rest after, saw an insignificant change in the results, perhaps demonstrating the durability of Republican support for Trump. The poll found that overall, Trump’s approval rating among Republicans is at 88%, the highest since he took office.

Republican pollster Bill McInturff told NBC that “Republican numbers don’t budge.” Fred Yang, the Democratic pollster who conducted the poll alongside McInturff, added that “The more Trump gets criticized by the media, the more his base seems to rally behind him.”

The responses the pollsters received would appear to confirm this assertion. One respondent reportedly said that he thinks Trump is “trying to build relations with Russia so that we do not have a war. It is better to talk to Putin than to not. I think the Democrats are just maniacs.”

The broader picture is less encouraging for Trump. Just 6% of Democrats and 14% of Independents support Trump’s handling of Russia. The composite approval rating on Russia is at just 26%. Meanwhile, a significant 51% disapprove, demonstrating growing partisanship.