Vladimir Putin's reliance on disinformation and propaganda to burnish the image of Russia in the west appears to have hit pay dirt, according to the results of the second annual Reagan National Defense Survey released in November.

VladVladimir Putin

The poll found that 46 percent of armed services' households view Russia as an ally rather than an enemy of the US.

That figure compares with 28 percent of the overall population having a favorable image of Russia.

In the executive summary of the report, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation noted that the upbeat view of Russia is predominantly driven by those "who responded to positive cues from president Trump about Russia."

The Pentagon is concerned about the rising pro-Russia sentiment in the military. 

"There is an effort, on the part of Russia, to flood the media with disinformation to sow doubt and confusion," DOD spokesperson lieutenant colonel Carla Gleason told the Voice of America. "This is not only through discordant and inflammatory dialogue but through false narratives designed to elicit sympathetic views. We are actively working to expose and counter Russian disinformation whenever possible."

Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation 2019 National Defense Survey

Russia has been targeting the US military with a ramped-up influence campaign since 2017, according to the VOA. The goal: "seed US military personnel with the right type of disinformation so that they would be predisposed to view Russia and its actions in a more favorable way in the future." 

Putin seems to have sown some successful seeds. 

The Reagan survey also found that "launching cyberattacks on the US," cited by 24 percent of respondents, is the No. 1 concern about Russia. "Aiding Iran and other rogue regimes" (21 percent) and "interfering in our elections" (20 percent) ranked next.

How polarized is the US? President Trump took top honors in the tech PR firm Bospar's survey of the biggest PR winners and losers of 2019.

The poll found that 21.9 percent of respondents cited Trump as the biggest winner, while 32 percent believe he was PR's biggest fail.

"The president is a Rorschach test for the United States, especially when it comes to PR,” according to Curtis Sparrer,  principal of Bospar.  Trump's positive/negative PR numbers remind Sparrer of the wisdom of Star Wars Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi, who observed, ‘"You’re going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view."

Other losers: Hillary Clinton (9 percent), Nancy Pelosi (5.8 percent), Mark Zuckerberg (5.7 percent), while top winners were Michelle Obama (7.6 percent), Barack Obama (6.6 percent) and Taylor Swift (5.3 percent)

The strong US economy will drive US advertising outlays up 6.2 percent to $244B during 2019, according to WPP's GroupM ad-buying unit.

It projects 4.0 percent growth next year as spending for the Olympics and presidential election offsets a slowing of the economy.

The ad market also will get a major boost by the influx of streaming services, especially from newcomers such as Disney+ and Apple TV+. 

GroupM expects new and existing streaming video services to "account for multiple billions of dollars in domestic advertising spending by the time these services are all operating at scale."