A new poll regarding Russia and its potential for interfering in the 2018 midterm elections revealed some pretty shocking findings. The poll showed that many Republicans think Russian midterm inference is not necessarily a big deal — and some even approve of it. Perhaps ironically, this poll's findings come as Trump recently revealed his "concern" about Russian election interference, tweeting on July 24 that he is worried that the Russians will skew the election for the Democrats.
The poll was conducted by Yahoo! Finance and Survey Monkey from July 25-27 and surveyed around 2,500 Americans. Notably, the polls results revealed that 11 percent of Americans who consider themselves Republican or Republican-leaning believe that it's "appropriate" for Russia to interfere in the November 2018 midterm elections in order to help Republicans maintain their congressional majority. Moreover, 29 percent of Republican-oriented individuals noted that Russian interference is “not appropriate, but wouldn’t be a big deal” in the survey. Thus, as Yahoo! noted in an article summarizing the findings, a combined 40 percent of Republican-identifying Americans think that Russian meddling in an American midterm election is not really a cause for concern.
For their part, a combined total of 14 percent of Democrat-identifying individuals indicated that they believe that Russian interference (this time on behalf of Democrats) is either appropriate or not appropriate, but not a big deal. 86 percent said that Russians interfering for the sake of Democrats would not be appropriate.
Notably, President Trump recently expressed concern that Russians will intervene in the 2018 midterms to help Democrats regain control of Congress. In his aforementioned tweet, the president wrote:
I’m very concerned that Russia will be fighting very hard to have an impact on the upcoming Election. Based on the fact that no President has been tougher on Russia than me, they will be pushing very hard for the Democrats. They definitely don’t want Trump!
On the flip side, however, Trump has previously repeatedly expressed doubt that Russia intervened in the 2016 presidential elections, despite evidence to the contrary — including from a Republican-led Senate panel.
Recently, there have been indications that Russia could potentially be meddling in the lead-up to the midterm elections. Facebook reported this week that it discovered that 32 fake accounts and pages about socially and politically controversial topics. For example, as USA Today reported, some of the pages’ names included "Resisters," "Black Elevation," and “Aztlan Warriors," among others. As the outlet noted, the pages were seemingly created to perpetuate divisiveness. They were deleted after their discovery.
Facebook explained (via USA Today) that it cannot say for certain that the pages and accounts are tied to the Kremlin. However, the paper reported that there were some distinct similarities between these pages and those reportedly created by Russians around the time of the 2016 presidential elections. American authorities are currently investigating the issue for further confirmation.
Overall, it certainly seems to be a legitimate possibility that Russians could seek to influence the 2018 midterm elections in the United States. It remains to be seen whether Americans’ opinions about potential Kremlin meddling will change as the midterms draw near — or if Russia does indeed make concerted efforts to influence the elections’ results.