Apr 28, 2022 - World

How Americans view China

Percentage who say that <span style="border-bottom: 2px solid #000;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>, by party
Data: PEW; Chart: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Republicans — and independents who lean Republican — are more likely to call China an enemy than Democrats. They're also more likely to describe China’s power and influence as a major threat to the U.S., new data from Pew Research shows.

Why it matters: The partisan split is another divide heading into the midterms. It's being expressed as Americans' view of China grows more and more negative overall.

  • Both parties were planning as early as late June to lean into competition with China as a midterms issue.
  • And both Democratic and Republican candidates are targeting China in ads themselves pitched toward voters whose jobs have been shipped overseas, especially in manufacturing-heavy states like Ohio.
  • The same data shows the war in Ukraine makes Americans especially wary of China, which is seen as a partner to Russia — and has yet to condemn Russian President Vladimir Putin's aggression against his neighbor.

The details: Republicans are more likely to say economic relationships between the U.S. and China are bad; they also believe the U.S. should get tougher on China over economic issues mores than worrying about building a strong relationship.

  • The same data set from Pew indicates two-thirds of U.S. adults surveyed believe China's influence on the world stage has grown in recent years.
  • More Americans also describe China as the world's leading economic power.

What they're saying: Some lawmakers are calling for China to face the same kind of unified action taken against Russia, arguing the approach has proved effective.

  • "What we are witnessing could be the basis of a Biden Doctrine — using full-throated economic sanctions by all Western, pro-democracy allies when going against our strategic adversaries," said Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-N.Y.), a commissioner on the Congressional-Executive Commission on China.

Go deeper: Some lawmakers and advocates have an additional concern.

Go deeper