Less than a third of Americans approve of how President Donald Trump handled his summit Monday in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin, but almost 70 percent of Republicans think he did a good job, a new poll found.
Overall, 55 percent of the people surveyed were unhappy with Trump's performance at the summit while about a third — 32 percent — approved, according to the CBS News poll published Thursday.
Most of the displeasure with Trump's showing in Helsinki was related to a joint press conference the president held with Putin after the pair met privately for two hours. When asked about Russian election meddling, Trump appeared to reject the conclusions of the U.S. intelligence community and to accept Putin's denial that Russia's hands were clean.
While 83 percent of Democrats disapproved of Trump's handling of the summit – and only 8 percent approved – 68 percent of Republicans approved of the president's showing and 21 percent said they disapproved. Among independents, 53 percent were not happy with how Trump handled the summit and 29 percent approved.
There was also a sharp party split over the issue of Russian meddling in American elections. Almost nine in 10 Democrats said they believed U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, while only about half of Republicans accepted that conclusion.
Moving forward, 89 percent of Democrats said they feared that Russia will meddle in the 2018 midterm elections, in contrast with 61 percent of Republicans who said they were not concerned.
When it comes to Trump's handling of Russia in general, 46 percent of respondents thought Trump's approach is "too friendly," up from 35 percent in April 2017.
More than 1,000 people were surveyed by telephone from July 17-18 for the poll, according to CBS News. The margin of error was plus or minus four percent.