Washington, DC–After a year of escalating trade disagreements between the U.S. and China, Americans’ views of the country have dropped sharply to their lowest levels since 2012. Currently, 41% of Americans say they have a favorable view of China — down 12 percentage points from last year.
These data are from Gallup’s annual World Affairs poll, conducted Feb. 1-10.
President Donald Trump has long criticized China’s trade policies, accusing the country of manipulating its currency and taking advantage of the U.S. But his steady anti-China rhetoric didn’t affect Americans’ views of the country in 2017 and 2018, as Americans’ favorable views of China edged up.
Global approval of China’s leadership also improved during this same period. In 2019, however, views have reverted to about they were in President Barack Obama’s second term.
This decrease in favorability comes as Americans have become more likely to say that China’s economic power poses a “critical threat” to vital U.S. interests over the next 10 years.
The current 46% who say China’s economic power is a critical threat is up from the 40% to 41% recorded from 2015 to 2018 — though not as high as the 52% recorded in 2013 and 2014.