It’s official: Americans say Mitt Romney was pretty much right about Russia

Back in March, when Vladimir Putin's Russia was rearing its increasingly antagonistic head, supporters of Mitt Romney saw a measure of vindication. Russia, it seemed, had become the United States' No. 1 geopolitical foe -- the same distinction Romney claimed for it in 2012 (and President Obama scoffed at). Well, here we are, four months later, and we finally have some good data to evaluate that claim.

And we can say that, at least for now, the American people agree with Mitt Romney (pretty much).


According to a new survey from the Pew Research Center, Americans see Russia as the No. 1 future threat to the United States.

Twenty-three percent of Americans give that distinction to Russia, while 19 percent say it's China and 16 percent say it's Iran. (Just 7 percent cite North Korea.)

Here are all the numbers:

Threat2
Pew Research Center

The data on Russia, though, are still somewhat mixed. While Americans see Russia as perhaps the top threat, they don't necessarily see it as a clear enemy.

Back in March, another Pew poll showed just 26 percent of Americans saw Russia as an "adversary," while 43 percent said it was a "serious problem" but not really an adversary.

RussiaAlly

Of course, defining the words "adversary," "geopolitical foe" and "threat" are all subjective, and they don't neatly overlap. Indeed, Romney clarified that he wasn't necessarily talking about Russia in terms of a direct threat to the U.S. as much as a country that had a connection to so many key conflicts -- often on the opposite side of the U.S.

But for a guy whose presidential campaign won't be fondly remembered, he's got the whole Russia thing going for him. Which is nice.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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