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Americans are increasingly likely to see China as a threat to the U.S., though they're sharply divided over the dangers from Iran, Russia and climate change according to a new Pew survey.

Expand chart
Reproduced from Pew Research Center; Chart: Axios Visuals
What Americans want

On Iran...

  • Republicans tend to think it’s more important to take a firm stand against Tehran (68%) than to avoid war (25%), while the opposite is true for Democrats (23% vs. 71%).
  • Overall, Americans are narrowly more likely to prioritize avoiding war (49%) than taking a firm stand (44%).

On China...

The share of Americans who consider China’s power and influence a major threat rose from 46% to 54% since 2017, with similar jumps seen among Democrats (now 52%) and Republicans (58%).

  • Democrats remain more dovish, with only 16% viewing China as an “adversary,” compared to 30% of Republicans.
  • Only 19% of Democrats want to “get tougher” with Beijing on trade and the economy, compared to 54% of Republicans.
  • Democrats overwhelmingly say President Trump’s tariffs have been bad for Americans (82%), while most Republicans (67%) say they’ve been good.
  • In a finding that runs counter to the political zeitgeist, both Republicans (59%) and Democrats (73%) tend to think free trade deals have benefited the U.S.

The great divides...

  • A growing proportion of Republicans (38%) believe Russia does not pose a problem for the U.S., compared to 14% of Democrats. Views of Russia have become strikingly partisan and diverged sharply since 2016.
  • Democrats rank climate change first on a list of potential threats to the country. Republicans, meanwhile, rank it last.
What to watch

Flashback: Fear of terrorism and the fight against Islamic State (ISIS) were central to the 2016 election cycle, following major attacks at home and abroad.

  • Far fewer Americans are worried about ISIS now, according to the poll. The same is true of North Korea — the top fear from two years ago — though 58% say the regime is “not serious” about denuclearization.
  • If this week's Democratic debates are a guide, tensions with Iran and competition with China will top the foreign policy agenda in 2020 — along with lingering questions over Afghanistan and Iraq.
  • Of course, a lot can change in 15 months.

Go deeper: Big foreign policy changes coming if Trump loses

Go deeper

Texas AG sues Biden administration over deportation freeze

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks to members of the media in 2016. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is suing the Biden administration in federal district court over its 100-day freeze on deporting unauthorized immigrants, and he's asking for a temporary restraining order.

Between the lines: The freeze went into effect Friday, temporarily halting most immigration enforcement in the U.S. In the lawsuit, Paxton claims the move "violates the U.S. Constitution, federal immigration and administrative law, and a contractual agreement between Texas" and the Department of Homeland Security.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
1 hour ago - Podcasts

Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck

President Biden has said that getting Americans vaccinated for COVID-19 is his administration’s top priority given an initial rollout plagued by organizational, logistical and technical glitches.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the bottlenecks and how to unclog them with Carbon Health chief executive Eren Bali, whose company recently began helping to manage vaccinations in Los Angeles.