Amer­i­cans view China ‘mostly un­fa­vor­ably’: poll

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSSAMERICA - By AMY HE in New York amyhe@chindai­lyusa.com

A new Gallup poll shows that more than 50 per­cent of Amer­i­cans see China as “mostly un­fa­vor­able,” at­ti­tudes that are nearly un­changed from those in early 2013, de­spite China’s an­nounce­ments of eco­nomic and so­cial re­forms at the end of last year.

Gallup’s Fe­bru­ary World Af­fairs poll also shows that 43 per­cent saw China very or mostly fa­vor­ably, and that 53 per­cent saw China very or mostly un­fa­vor­ably, which re­flected lit­tle change in per­spec­tive com­pared to 2013 re­sults, where 52 per­cent saw China un­fa­vor­ably and 43 per­cent saw China fa­vor­ably.

The poll was con­ducted with a ran­dom sam­ple of 1,023 adults aged 18 and older, liv­ing in all 50 states. In­ter­views were con­ducted over land­line and cel­lu­lar tele­phones, the num­bers of which were selected ran­domly, ac­cord­ing to Gallup.

The ma­jor­ity of Amer­i­cans (52 per­cent) also be­lieve that China is the world’s leading eco­nomic power, and less than one-third (31 per­cent) think that US is the leading eco­nomic power.

“At­ti­tudes on this ques­tion have not changed since 2011, but longer term, be­lief that China is the world’s leading eco­nomic power has sky­rock­eted since 2000,” wrote Gallup’s Andrew Dugan on the com­pany’s web­site.

“Then, just one in 10 Amer­i­cans named China as the su­pe­rior eco­nomic power; now, a re­li­able ma­jor­ity does. This is likely at­trib­ut­able to China’s im­pres­sive eco­nomic per­for­mance over the last 13 years — its econ­omy of­ten grow­ing by dou­ble dig­its over this time span — and the United States’ of­ten un­der­whelm­ing, cri­sis-rid­den econ­omy,” Dugan added.

China’s grow­ing mil­i­tary power is seen as a “thread to the vi­tal in­ter­ests of the US,” ac­cord­ing to Gallup, and though 55 per­cent of Amer­i­cans sur­veyed last June con­sider China as an ally or a friend, they now con­sider China’s “grow­ing in­flu­ence through more of an eco­nomic lens.” In a ques­tion with a list of pos­si­ble threats to the US, 52 per­cent of Amer­i­cans said that China’s eco­nomic power as a crit­i­cal threat com­pared to the 46 per­cent who said that China’s mil­i­tary power is a threat.

China be­ing seen as a ma­jor eco­nomic power doesn’t help Amer­i­cans’ per­cep­tions of China’s po­lit­i­cal ob­jec­tives, said Yukon Huang, se­nior as­so­ciate at the Carnegie En­dow­ment for In­ter­na­tional Peace.

“Any time some coun­try be­comes more im­por­tant in any way, it raises ques­tions about whether or not Amer­i­cans are los­ing their com­pet­i­tive­ness and since the eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion continues to be un­cer­tain in the United States, this just in­creases the anx­i­ety in Amer­ica,” Huang told China Daily.

Huang said that China’s eco­nomic rise is “not well un­der­stood,” and a switch from a neg­a­tive per­cep­tion to a pos­i­tive one re­quires that Amer­i­cans view China’s rise as hav­ing po­ten­tial ben­e­fits to the US.

“China grows and trades and in­vests more over­seas than Amer­ica and the Amer­i­can pub­lic stands to ben­e­fit, but there isn’t much reporting on that as­pect,” he said. “On the eco­nomic as­pects — which could po­ten­tially soften or in­crease the ap­peal of China’s in­creas­ing eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion — the pos­i­tive as­pects are un­der­stated, and the neg­a­tive as­pects are over­stated.”

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