Only 15% of Americans hold a favorable view of China, according to a new national poll from Gallup.
That’s a record low since Gallup started measuring American attitudes on China nearly 45 years ago, and the number marks a 5% drop over the past year, and nearly 40-point plunge since 2018.
According to the poll released Monday, more than eight in ten adults in the U.S. hold a negative opinion of China, including 45% who view Beijing very unfavorably.
“Favorability of China was highest in early 1989, at 72%, but it fell to 34% later that year in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square incident. From that point until 2017, China was viewed in a positive light by 33% to 50% of Americans. For just the third time in the trend, favorability rose to the majority level in 2018 (53%),” Gallup noted. “However, it fell to 41% in 2019, 33% in 2020, and 20% in 2012 and 2022 during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The new numbers, from Gallup’s annual world affairs poll which was conducted this year from Feb. 1-23, come as tensions between the U.S. and China flared after Secretary of State Antony Blinken canceled a high-profile diplomatic trip to Beijing after a Chinese surveillance balloon was shot down after it was discovered flying over the U.S.
The poll was conducted before FBI Director Christopher Wray announced that his agency had concluded that the coronavirus pandemic — the worst to sweep the globe in a century — likely came from a lab leak in Wuhan, China.
The poll suggests a slight partisan divide on opinions of China. Only 17% of Democrats and 18% of independents, and just 6% of Republicans, hold positive views of China.
“Since 2007, Republicans’ views of China have remained lower than Democrats’, although favorable views have fallen steadily over the past five years among both parties,” Gallup said in its release.
The survey also indicates that Americans name China as the United States’ greatest enemy than any other nation by a wide margin.
Two-thirds of those questioned view China’s military prowess as a critical threat to the vital interests of the U.S., and 64% see Beijing’s economic might as a critical threat.
“Growing friction between China and the U.S. in the past few years has resulted in sharp upticks in the percentages of Americans who consider China’s military and economic powers to represent critical threats to U.S. interests, with the public making little distinction between the two types of threats,” Gallup highlighted. “At the same time, Americans view Taiwan more favorably than ever before, as they rate the conflict between China and Taiwan as more of a threat to the U.S. than in the past.”
Gallup questioned 1,008 adult Americans in its survey, with an overall sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points.