More Americans have unfriendly views about China, with about 66 percent now saying they have negative views — up nearly 20 percentage points since the start of the Trump administration in 2017, according to a new poll by the Pew Research Center.
That negative rating is higher than at any time since Pew began asking the question in 2005.
Economic factors, such as job losses to China and the US trade deficit with the communist country remain top concerns for Americans.
But other issues – including Chinese human rights policies and pollution and its effect on the environment – also have Americans worried, according to the survey.
“Positive views of China’s leader, President Xi Jinping, are also at historically low levels,” the center said in a statement Tuesday.
The coronavirus pandemic had little effect on people’s feelings toward the US rival, Pew reported.
“While China’s handling of the virus may have made an impression on some Americans, it does not appear that escalating conditions in the US over the course of March shifted attitudes toward China during that period,” the center said.
“Views of China did not significantly change when comparing those surveyed before and after March 12, approximately when the NBA indefinitely postponed the remainder of the season and actor Tom Hanks announced testing positive for COVID-19 on social media,” the statement continued.
Americans interviewed before March 13, when the US declared a national emergency, had equally negative views toward China as those interviewed on or after that date, even when accounting for age, education, gender and political affiliation.
The poll showed that Americans also see the US as more of an economic powerhouse than China by about two-to-one — 59 percent vs. 30 percent.
But there was a partisan divide in views about China, with Republicans remaining more concerned than Democrats in many of the questions asked in the report.
“Nearly three-quarters of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents see China unfavorably, compared with roughly six-in-10 Democrats and Democratic leaners,” Pew said.
“Still, negative views of China increased slightly among Democrats this year, so partisans of both stripes are now largely negative toward the superpower,” the center continued, adding that from 2018 to 2019, both parties registered their most unfavorable opinions to date in 2020.
The poll also showed that younger people, who have in the past been more positive than older Americans toward China, now hold more negative views of the country and are likely to see it as a threat to the US.
“Older Americans, however, still take a more negative stance than their younger compatriots on most aspects of the US-China relationship,” Pew said.
The survey was conducted March 3 to 29, among 1,000 adults in the US, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 points.
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