The US/China Syndrome:
Largest Percentage of Americans Choose China (34%) over Others as Most Important Bilateral Relationship United States Should Have
But Majority (56%) View China as Adversary not Ally (33%)
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
Washington, DC –It would appear that the largest percentage of Americans believe that, when given a choice over other nations, China should be the most important bilateral relationship of the United States (34%) and a similar one third of the population characterizes China as an “Ally” (33%).
But the Thomson Reuters/Ipsos poll also reveals that this contrasts with the majority of Americans who would rather put in their lot with other countries as the most important bilateral relationship the US should have, and who clearly view China as an adversary (56%), not an ally (33%).
This sounding comes a time just ahead of President Obama's first visit official visit to Beijing and as China and the United States emerge as each other's second largest trading partners with high-level working groups attempting to reach bilateral agreements to relax restrictions on everything from agriculture to technology and from visa’s to intellectual property.
Which is the most important bilateral relationship United States should have?
When asked to choose between a list of countries as to which is the most important bilateral relationship with the United States should have, a plurality chooses China:
- China (34%)
- United Kingdom (23%)
- Canada (18%)
- Mexico (8%)
- Japan (6%)
- India (2%)
- Brazil (1%)
Those who believe that China should be the most important bilateral relationship for the United States (34%) are most likely to be aged 18-34 (37%)/35-54 (36%), those earning over $50,000 per year (39%), full-time employed (38%), part-time employed (37%), non-Hispanic black (41%) and Democrat supporters (38% versus 31% Republican supporters).
Friend or Foe?
When asked to characterize China as either an "Ally" or an “Adversary”, a majority of Americans put China decidedly in the "Foe” category: 56% characterize China is an "adversary" versus 33% who put it in the "ally" column. One in 10 (11%) of Americans indicate that China falls into another category ("both" (2%), neither (2%) and 7% say they "don't know").
- Those most likely to characterize China as an “Adversary” are aged 55+ (62%), from the Northeast (59%) or the South (60%), working part-time (59%), with some college education (59%), retired (61%), non-Hispanic black (59%) and Republican supporters (62% versus 51% Democrat supporters).
- Those most likely to characterize China as an “Ally” are men (37%), those aged 18-34 (41%), earning between $25,000 and $50,000 per annum (39%), with children (38%), employed full-time (40%), Hispanic (41%) and Democrat supporters (39% versus 30% Republican supporters).
These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted Thursday, October 29 to Monday, November 2, 2009. For the survey, a nationally representative, randomly selected sample of 1,077 adults aged 18 and older across the United States was interviewed by Ipsos. With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire adult population in the U.S. been polled. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error. These data were weighted to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the actual U.S. population according to U.S. Census figures. Respondents had the option to be interviewed in English or Spanish.* The poll put China amongst this list of countries in order to provide respondents with an "other than" choice. The focus on the assessment was on China, not on any other country or set of countries. As such, there may indeed be other countries that Americans believe are important in terms of bilateral relationships but they were not included for an absolute ranking. Those who chose "do not know" yielded 9% of the total sample.
For more information on this news release, please contact:
Michael Gross, PhD
Ipsos Public Affairs
About Ipsos Public Affairs
Ipsos Public Affairs is a non-partisan, objective, survey-based research practice made up of seasoned professionals. We conduct strategic research initiatives for a diverse number of American and international organizations, based not only on public opinion research, but elite stakeholder, corporate, and media opinion research.
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