China-Russia: As the war in Ukraine rages on — a conflict that China has so far declined to condemn – Americans are concerned about the relationship between China and Russia.
Around nine out of ten adults in the United States believe it is at least a somewhat serious problem for the country, with a 62 percent majority believing it is a very serious problem – far more than any of the other six issues discussed, which include China‘s involvement in American politics, its human rights policies, and tensions between China and Taiwan, among others.
Between 2022 and 2020, Americans increasingly regard China as a powerhouse and a threat.
The notion that China is a world superpower goes hand in hand with the specific concern about the China-Russia relationship. China’s influence on the world stage has grown greater in recent years, according to nearly two-thirds of individuals in the United States (66 percent).
More Americans are increasingly referring to China as the world’s most powerful economic power. China is regarded as the world’s leading economy by nearly four-in-ten people (43 percent), nearly as many as the United States.
This is a big shift from 2020 when 32% of Americans said China was the world’s leading economy and 52% said the United States was. This double-digit surge brings the percentage of Americans who believe China to be the world’s most powerful economy back to 2014 levels.
While the majority of Americans still believe the United States is the world’s main military force – 70% say so, compared to 19% who say China and 9% who say Russia – the number of people who think China has more than doubled since 2020.
China’s expanding power and influence are also considered a threat to the United States. China is now viewed as a big danger by two-thirds of respondents, up 5 percentage points since 2020 and 23 points since the subject was first posed in 2013.
Despite the war in Ukraine, this is similar to the number of people who see Russia’s power and influence as a big danger to the United States (64 percent).
China’s negative image has also risen marginally in the last year. Around eight out of ten people (82%) had negative feelings about China, with 40 percent having extremely negative feelings about the country.
This is a new high since the Center began asking about this issue on its American Trends Panel in 2020, with a 6-point increase in negative opinions since 2021. Although the mode shift from phone surveys to the online panel makes it difficult to directly compare today’s numbers with data from before 2020, the present reading is likewise a record reading of unfavorable attitudes since 2005.
Even though negative perceptions of China have grown, Americans are increasingly viewing China as a competitor rather than an adversary. China is currently viewed as a competitor by 62 percent, an opponent by 25%, and a partner by 10% of those polled.
Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine
In January, only 54% answered competitor, and 35% mentioned adversary, almost exactly the same percentages as the previous year. Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the proportion of Americans who term Russia an opponent or competitor shifted in the other direction in the same two months.
Russia, scarred by the Cold War’s legacy of undermining its great power position and driven by a desire to lead the Eurasian continent, has a “very strong reason” to strengthen its ties with China, according to Xiao.
As a result, he claimed, Moscow has “steered ties in a direction commensurate with its own geopolitical objectives.” “From the standpoint of bilateral ties, their comprehensive strategic alliance would not be able to restrain Russian adventurism.”
Furthermore, on the economic and commercial fronts, the two countries’ “mutual interdependence” means that these might “rarely become a diplomatic tool for bargaining with Russia.”
“China is Russia’s greatest trading partner, and Russia is China’s main supplier of energy imports,” he wrote in a Tuesday post. “Economic and trade cooperation is crucial to the healthy development of their respective economies.”
“In particular, China’s economic development is under historic downward pressure, and the stability of China’s energy supply is critical.”
Republicans vs Democrat’s View of China
Republicans and independents who lean toward the Republican Party, as has been the case in previous years, have more negative views of China than Democrats and independents who lean toward the Democratic Party — 89 percent vs. 79 percent, respectively. Republicans are also considerably more likely than Democrats to name China an enemy and to see China’s power and influence as a big danger to the United States.
When it comes to economic matters, Republicans are more likely than Democrats to feel the China-US economic relationship is negative and to prioritize taking severe measures against China on economic concerns.
Party affiliation also influences perceptions of the world’s major economic power, with 49 percent of Republicans and 39 percent of Democrats naming China as the top economic power.
However, the number of Republicans who name China as the world’s most powerful economy has nearly doubled since 2020, while Democratic views on China’s economic domination have mostly remained steady.
These are some of the significant results of a recent Pew Research Center poll of 3,581 Americans conducted on the Center’s nationally representative American Trends Panel from March 21 to 27, 2022. In addition, the study reveals significant disparities in attitudes toward China between older and younger Americans.
Older Americans are more likely to hold negative views of China, to think that the Sino-American relationship is strained, and to refer to China as an adversary. In addition, older Americans are more likely than younger adults to consider practically every issue in the bilateral relationship as a severe problem for the United States.
When it comes to tensions between China and Taiwan, the age disparity is the most pronounced. While 52% of Americans aged 65 and above view tensions between China and Taiwan to be a very serious problem, only 26% of those aged 18 to 29 do. When it comes to the relationship between China and Russia, there is also a 25-point divide among Americans.