Apr 21, 2020 - World

Poll: Americans' views of China darken dramatically

Reproduced from Pew Research Center; Chart: Axios Visuals

Two-thirds of Americans now view China unfavorably, up from 47% two years ago, according to data from Pew that suggests the increasingly adversarial approach from Washington is spreading throughout the country.

The big picture: Americans have tended to view China negatively since 2013, but that sentiment has grown dramatically over the past two years amid the U.S-China trade war and, more recently, the coronavirus pandemic. In that time, the proportion of Americans who view China very unfavorably has more than doubled (15% to 33%).

Key findings:

  • The trend is bipartisan, though Republicans (72% unfavorable) are more wary of China than Democrats (62%).
  • Younger people are more likely to view China favorably, with 43% of 18 to 29-year-olds holding positive views compared to 26% of 30 to 49-year-olds and 21% of those older than 50.
  • Confidence in Xi Jinping plummeted over the last year, with 71% of Americans now having no confidence in him, compared with 50% in 2019.
  • Nine-in-10 Americans now view China as a threat, with 62% viewing China as a major threat — up from 48% in 2018.
  • Concerns with China’s impact on the environment and policies on human rights are on the rise, while economic concerns over jobs and the trade deficit are lower than a decade ago.
  • Most Americans view the U.S. as a bigger economic power than China, and 91% say the world is better off with America as the leading superpower, rather than China (4%).

Worth noting: The polling was conducted from Mar. 3-29, during which time U.S. and Chinese officials sparred about the origins of COVID-19.

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