Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin rides a horse in southern Siberia's Tuva region August 3, 2009. Putin, a judo black belt who has flown in a fighter aircraft and shot a Siberian tiger in the wild, plunged into the depths of Lake Baikal aboard a mini-submersible on Saturday in a mission that added a new dimension to his macho image. (REUTERS/RIA Novosti/Pool/Alexei Druzhinin)
As the eyes of the world are trained on the Winter Olympics in Sochi, America's view of the host country has hit a two-decade low.
According to a new Gallup poll, 60 percent of Americans view Russia unfavorably — the most in the 20-year history of the poll — while 63 percent feel the same way about Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The results reflect Americans' disgust with Russia's involvement in the Syrian civil war, its granting asylum to former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, its restriction of gay and lesbian civil rights, the threat of terrorism at the Olympics and reports of substandard conditions in Sochi (as documented by the Twitter hashtag #SochiProblems), Gallup said.
The results are also not so surprising. Last fall, a Gallup poll found more Americans viewed Russia as "an enemy" than an ally for the first time in 15 years.
And Putin's unfavorability among Americans has jumped nearly 10 percent since September, when he criticized President Barack Obama in an op-ed for the New York Times, saying Obama's remarks about American exceptionalism were "extremely dangerous." At the time, 54 percent of Americans viewed Putin unfavorably, while just 19 percent had a favorable opinion of him.
And it's not just the U.S. pooh-poohing Putin. According to Gallup, Putin's popularity was waning among Russians even before the Olympics started.
A 2013 poll found that Putin's job approval rating (54 percent) was 29 points lower than the approval rating he received at the end in 2008.