Unfavorable ratings of China have ticked above a majority in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. That’s not the heartiest welcome for Xi Jinping, the country’s current vice president — and perhaps future president — ahead of his meeting with President Obama on Tuesday.
In the new survey, 52 percent say they view China unfavorably, with 37 percent holding favorable views. Just over a year ago — around the time of the last official Chinese visit — there was a more even divide: 42 percent favorable and 49 percent unfavorable. Now, as before, strongly unfavorable views outnumber strongly favorable ones by about 3 to 1.
The Post-ABC poll last year pinpointed the economic anxiety that drove opinions of one of the world’s few economic and military super powers. By better than 2 to 1, people described China as an economic threat rather an opportunity for new markets and investments.
A newer, December poll from the Pew Research Center, shows a similar finding: Nearly six in 10 said that competition from China poses a major threat to the economic well being in this country.
The shifting views on China in the new Post-ABC poll are marked by some sharp changes among particular groups. For example, last year, more than half of liberal Democrats held favorable views of China. Now, that’s dropped to about a third. Moderate to conservative Democrats are now far more favorable and have changed little in the past year.
Overall, about a quarter of Republicans have favorable views of China compared with roughly four in 10 Democrats and independents.
There are very large differences by age and race as well. Six in 10 young people, age 18 to 29, have favorable views of China. Favorable ratings slide to just one in five among seniors — among the lowest rating of any group. Ratings among whites have fallen sharply too, from about four in 10 favorable in 2011 to about a quarter now. Opinions among non-whites have improved 15 points, one of the only groups that show increasing favorability toward China.