Tuesday, March 2, 2021

China’s Popularity in US Sinks to Record Low

Reflecting a year of tense relations between the United States and China, China’s favorability rating among Americans as measured by the annual Gallup Poll has dropped to its lowest level in at least 40 years. The survey of 1,021 adults, carried out from February 3 to 28, 2021, found that 20 percent of American adults have a favorable view of China – down 13 points from the 2020 result – while 79 percent have an unfavorable view, an increase of 12 points over the 2020 result.

Clashes over how China has handled the coronavirus (polls show that large majorities of Americans fault China for how it handled the outbreak), human rights in Xinjiang and Hong Kong, trade, China’s militarization of the South China Sea, and China’s threats to Taiwan have taken a toll.

Unfavorable views of China in the Gallup poll outweighed favorable views in every demographic – gender, race, education, political party, and ideology. Only two countries – Iran and North Korea – are less popular than China. Taiwan has a favorability to unfavorability ratio of 72:24.

The results will bolster those in Congress and the Biden administration who favor tough policies towards China, and they will make efforts to ease tension and find common ground more difficult. A Pew poll taken in early February found that 48 percent of Americans believe that limiting the power and influence of China should be the United States’ top foreign policy priority. The same poll found that a slim majority of Americans – 53 to 46 percent – have confidence that President Biden will deal effectively with China.