Mohamed Younis, editor-in-chief of Gallup in Washington –
Americans’ favorable ratings of China have plummeted to a record low 20%, following a 13-percentage point drop in favorability from 33% a year ago. This comes on the heels of last year’s eight-point decline, measured after the coronavirus first spread in China but before it became a worldwide pandemic.
Last year’s 33% favorability tied readings in 1997 and 2000 as the lowest in Gallup’s trend dating back to 1979. It was also in line with a 34% favorable rating in August 1989 following the Chinese government’s crackdown on protestors in Tiananmen Square.
The highest recorded by Gallup, 72%, came in the months before the Tiananmen Square incident. Favorability of China has only been at the majority level three times since 1979; 2018 was the last time this happened.
The latest ratings, from a Feb. 3-18 poll, were recorded mostly after President Joe Biden announced on Feb. 7 that he is prepared to compete with China, the world’s second-largest economy, but that his approach will be different from his predecessor’s. Since the poll, in a Feb. 20 speech, he went further, saying, “We have to push back against the Chinese government’s abuses and coercion that undercut the foundations of the international economic system.”
Partisans’ ratings of China have all worsened since 2020, but Republicans’ remains the lowest.