Rising tensions over trade have dimmed Americans’ opinions of China.
A new Pew Research Center poll finds that 60% say they have an unfavorable view of China — up from 47% last year to the highest proportion since Pew started asking the question 14 years ago.
The survey results being released Tuesday found that 24% 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 other 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% of Americans believe that China’s growing economy is a bad thing for the United States, compared with 50% who called it a good thing. Respondents were far more worried about China’s rising military power: 81% said it was bad, 11% 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%, compared with 58% of those ages 30-49 and 49% of those 18-29).
Likewise, 69% of Americans with a four-year college degree expressed disapproval of China, versus 57% of those who didn’t have a degree.
Pew surveyed 1,503 adults from May 13 to June 18.