As President Obama prepares to host Chinese President Hu Jintao next week, Americans increasingly see Asia as the region of the world that is most important to the United States. Nearly half (47%) say Asia is most important, compared with just 37% who say Europe, home to many of America’s closest traditional allies.
Views on this issue have changed considerably over the last decade. In an early September 2001 poll, 44% said our political, economic and military ties to Europe were more important, while 34% prioritized our ties to Asia. Similarly, in polls conducted in 1993 and 1997 about half felt Europe was the region most important to American national interests, while roughly three-in-ten said Asia.
This shift reflects changing perceptions about the economic balance of power in the world. Almost half (47%) of Americans say China is the world’s leading economic power, while just 31% name the U.S. Three years ago – prior to the global economic crisis – only 30% characterized China as the global economic leader, compared with 41% for the U.S.
Read the full report Strengthen Ties with China, But Get Tough on Trade on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press Web site.