Rising tensions over trade have dimmed Americans’ opinions of China.
A new Pew Research Center poll finds that 60 percent say they have an unfavorable view of China — up from 47 percent last year to the highest proportion since Pew started asking the question 14 years ago.
The survey results released this week found that 24 percent of Americans regard China as America’s top threat for the future, the same percentage that said so of Russia. North Korea (12 was the only country to draw double-digit concern.
The Trump administration and Beijing have been clashing for more than a year over allegations that China steals trade secrets, pressures foreign companies to hand over technology and unfairly subsidizes the country’s own companies.
President Donald Trump has imposed tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese goods and has said that on Sept. 1, he will tax the $300 billion in Chinese imports that he has so far spared. In retaliation, China has imposed tariffs on $110 billion in U.S. products.
Still, the poll finds that only 41 percent of Americans believe that China’s growing economy is a bad thing for the United States, compared with 50 percent who called it a good thing. Respondents were far more worried about China’s rising military power: 81 percent said it was bad, 11 percent good.
Half said they had no confidence in President Xi Jinping, the same as last year. In addition to being locked in a trade war with Trump, Xi has overseen a crackdown on dissent in China and a more combative foreign policy in East Asia.
Americans 50 and older were most likely to hold negative views of China (67 percent, compared with 58 percent of those ages 30-49 and 49 percent of those 18-29).
Likewise, 69 percent of Americans with a four-year college degree expressed disapproval of China, versus 57 percent of those who didn’t have a degree.
Pew surveyed 1,503 adults from May 13 to June 18.