Commentary: American, Chinese Publics Increasingly Wary of the Other

Nov 01, 2012

As economic and geopolitical competition grows between the U.S. and China, Americans and Chinese have hardened their views about each other. The desire of Americans to get tougher with China on economic relations has injected that issue into the U.S. presidential campaign. And, for China’s part, views about relations with the U.S. have become significantly more negative in the last two years.

These trends come against a backdrop where the competition is seen keenly by publics around the world. A Pew Global Attitudes survey conducted in spring, 2011 found that, in 15 of 22 nations, the balance of opinion is that China will replace the U.S. as the world’s leading superpower, or already has.

Perceptions of China’s economic power have been on the rise since 2008, and the spring 2012 Global Attitudes survey found that a median of 41% in 21 countries named China as the world’s economic leader compared with 37% who named the U.S.  Americans were almost evenly divided on the question while, ironically, the Chinese public rated the U.S. as the top economic power over their own country by a 48% to 29% margin.

Read the full report, American, Chinese Publics Increasingly Wary of the Other, on the Pew Global Attitudes Project website.

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