President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin met on Wednesday in the first summit for the world leaders. A recent CBS News/YouGov poll found that most Americans hope that President Biden will take a “tough stand” against Putin (58%), and a majority believe he currently strikes the right balance (55%) between being friendly and hostile to the foreign leader.
The duo’s meeting follows a recent effort by Russian intelligence officers to infiltrate the email system of a United States government agency through malware. The attack was stopped, but it follows a series of escalating cyberattacks on U.S. government offices and private companies. The attacks have not been lost on most Americans: data shows that Democrats and Republicans agree that Russia is trying to conduct cyberattacks against U.S. computer systems (81% and 77% respectively).
There is also a bipartisan agreement that Russia is attempting to influence American politics and elections (81% of Democrats and 73% of Republicans) and seeking to undermine the NATO alliance (74% and 71%). Few Americans believe that Russia is making an effort to cooperate with the United States on world affairs (28% say they are, 72% say they are not). Democrats (23% vs 77%) are less likely than Republicans (32% vs 68%) to say that Russia is trying to work with the U.S. on global issues.
Two in five Americans (41%) say they most wanted Biden to talk to Putin about the Russia-linked cyberattacks on U.S. interests. One in five (19%) believed the most important topic would be Russia’s military and political pressure on other nations in the region, while 16% of Americans wanted Biden to address election interference. Even fewer (14%) thought Russia’s nuclear weapons program was the most relevant discussion point, while one in 10 (10%) chose the nation’s human rights record.
A plurality of Republicans (46%) and Democrats (36%) named cyberattacks as the most important topic, but Democrats were more likely to name Russia’s election interference (23% vs 10%).
Methodology: This CBS News survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 2,037 U.S. adult residents interviewed between June 8 - 10, 2021. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the U.S. Census American Community Survey, and the U.S. Census Current Population Survey, as well as 2020 Presidential vote. The margin of error is ±2.6 points.