I'll answer your questions in reverse order.
First, the argument that it is the Roman Empire holding back traces back to the 3rd century. Tertullian and Hippolytus both argued for this position. But I'm not sure where the comment about a majority following this position comes from. The current consensus seems to be that the "man of lawlessness" himself is modeled after a Roman ruler, so it's hard to see how the Roman empire would be the one holding back the Roman empire (even if that Roman empire is figurative of something else).
Second, pre-millenialists interpret this event in one of two ways depending on their view of the rapture. Those who believe in a pre-tribulation rapture would likely see the restraint being taken away at the start of the seven year tribulation. The rapture occurs pretty much simultaneous to the restraint of the antichrist being removed, so it could be the Holy Spirit's presence being removed from the earth at the rapture that precipitates this event. Post-tribulation pre-millenialists, however, cannot interpret this event as the Holy Spirit being removed from earth since believers remain on the earth until the parousia.
Finally, let me draw together a number of texts in order to answer your first question. I've bolded a number of key phrases to show why I think they should be linked in terms of describing the same event, in which Satan deceives the nations into making war with God so that they might be destroyed at Christ's coming.
1 Thessalonians 2:8-10
And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing.
Then I saw three evil spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. They are spirits of demons performing miraculous signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty.
Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army. But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf.
And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended.
When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—to gather them for battle.
If the passages below do describe the same event, then from Revelation 20:1-4 it seems like it is an angel who seals Satan from performing these false miracles and deceiving yet the nations. Of course, in the theology of Revelation, it is ultimately God himself who is sovereign over these things.