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