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Behind the Numbers
Posted at 10:51 AM ET, 01/19/2011

China's image tarnished by weak U.S. economy

Chinese President Hu Jintao is likely to get a warm reception Wednesday at the White House state dinner, but public views of China are less than gleaming, fueled by an undercurrent of economic anxiety.

Almost half of all Americans hold unfavorable views of China, and more - six in 10 - in the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll call it an economic threat to American jobs and security. Nearly as many describe China as unfriendly as friendly.

Americans' sense of the strength of the domestic economy factors directly into views of China. Ratings of China are much lower among those who take the dimmest view of our national economy, while China fares better among the few people who see the economy in a positive light.

Among those who describe the economy as poor, fully 71 percent call China a threat economically, 59 percent rate it unfavorably and 52 percent describe it as unfriendly. But these numbers flip among those who see the economy positively, with as many seeing China as an opportunity for new markets and investments as view it as a threat. Moreover, among those who give good marks to the U.S. economy, 58 percent call China a friendly country, and 54 percent view it favorably overall.

There are also political considerations at play: Republicans and conservatives are significantly more apt to view China negatively than are Democrats or independents. Almost a quarter of the most conservative call China an "enemy" of the United States. Republicans and Democrats alike see China as a threat.

Whites without college degrees take a particularly negative view of China's economic impact. Among this group, 72 percent say China represents a threat to the U.S. economy and jobs; that number dives to just 47 percent among whites with college degrees or more formal education.

Read the full poll here.
                      Rate national economy
                     Excel./   Not so   
               All    Good      good    Poor
Views of China
 Favorable     42      54        48      30
 Unfavorable   49      36        45      59

 Friendly      47      58        51      39
 Unfriendly    44      31        41      52

 Opportunity   29      44        33      20
 Threat        61      46        56      71

By Peyton Craighill  |  10:51 AM ET, 01/19/2011

Categories:  Economy

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