A record number of Americans view China as the greatest threat to the United States, a new poll published Monday found.
When asked what country they consider to be the United States’ greatest enemy today, 45% of Americans said China, a Gallup poll found. In last year’s poll, just 22% of respondents said the same.
Other countries that Americans saw as the greatest enemy were Russia (26%), North Korea/Korea (9%), and Iran (4%). Respondents were most likely to say that Russia was the greatest enemy last year, but even then just 23% of Americans said that Russia was the greatest enemy.
A record high percentage of Americans now sees China as the greatest enemy of the U.S. https://t.co/b6XkZkFWO7
— GallupNews (@GallupNews) March 16, 2021
The perception of China as America’s greatest enemy has been steadily rising since 2018 when 11% of Americans said that China was the greatest enemy of the U.S. In 2019, that percentage rose to 21%, then 22% in 2020, and finally 45% in 2021. The only time that a greater percentage of Americans viewed a country as the greatest threat was in 2018 when 51% said that North Korea/Korea was the biggest threat.
Responses differed greatly by political party, the poll found. Republicans named China as the greatest enemy of the U.S., while Democrats named Russia. 76% of Republicans said that China is the greatest enemy compared to 43% of Independents and 22% of Democrats. 47% of Democrats said that Russia was the greatest enemy, while 24% of Independents and 6% of Republicans said the same. (RELATED: US Corporations With Big Business In China Stay Silent On Biden’s ‘Genocide’ Designation)
Half of Americans see China as the world’s leading economic power – an 11% increase from 2020 when 39% of respondents said the same. Conversely, the percentage of Americans who believe the United States is the world’s leading economic power dropped from 50% in 2020 to 37% in 2021.
The changes could be attributed to the coronavirus pandemic, which devastated the American economy throughout 2020. Former President Donald Trump’s “tough on China” policies also may have affected Americans’ perceptions of China and the power dynamics between the two countries. While President Joe Biden is expected to be tougher on China than previous Democratic administrations, it remains to be seen if he will be as tough as his predecessor.
An increasing number of people see Chinese economic power as a “critical threat,” the poll found.
In 2021, 63% of Americans said that the economic power of China is a critical threat to the vital interests of the United States. Just 40% of Americans said the same in 2018.
The majority of Republicans (81%), Independents (59%), and Democrats (56%) view China’s economic rise as a critical threat. The percentage of people saying Chinese economic power is a critical threat has risen across all party lines, according to Gallup.
The survey was conducted between Feb. 3 and Feb. 18 by telephone interviews with a random sample of 1,021 adults in all 50 states and D.C. The margin of error is +/- 4 percentage points and the poll was conducted at the 95% confidence interval.