Most Americans say Russia is directly or indirectly responsible for the downing of a Malaysia Airlines jetliner over eastern Ukraine, and unfavorable opinions of Russia have surged, according to a new national poll. [...] According to the poll, just 19% of Americans have a favorable opinion of Russia, down from 41% in February. Fifty-seven percent of the public saw Russia in a positive way in a 2011 CNN/ORC survey. Seventy-eight percent of those questioned say they have an unfavorable opinion of Russia, a surge of 23 percentage points since February.
It wasn't too long ago that Russia was fairly popular in the minds in the American mainstream. The latest poll from CNN suggests that's changed rather dramatically.
That's almost impressive, in a way. It takes real effort to go from 41% to 19% favorability in the course of five months.
But what stands out for me is a CNN poll from a few weeks ago that said Congress has a 14% approval rating.
Let's pause to appreciate what this is telling us.
Most Americans believe that Russia will try to cover up its possible involvement in the death of 298 people. Indeed, according to this poll, roughly 85% of Americans believe Russia was directly or indirectly responsible for shooting down a civilian airliner over Ukraine.
And despite this recent bloodshed, still very much on the minds of millions, Russia is still a few points more popular than Congress.
In fairness, I should note that the comparison is not entirely apples-to-apples. One poll measures Russia's favorability rating, while the other measures Congress' approval rating. They're not exactly the same.
But under the circumstances, they're awfully close.
Meanwhile the latest CNN poll put President Obama's favorability rating at 47%. That's nothing to write home about, but compared to Russia and Congress, he's arguably doing pretty well.