US viewed more positively as China sinks in approval, poll shows

US viewed more positively as China sinks in approval, poll shows

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Median of 28 percent of the public in 24 countries have a positive view of China, Pew survey says.

The United States is viewed far more positively than China across 24 countries, with the gap between the countries widening sharply since the election of US President Joe Biden, a survey by the Pew Research Centre shows.

A median of 59 percent of the public in 24 countries has a positive opinion of the US, compared with 28 percent who say the same of China, according to the survey released on Monday.

Overall, the US was viewed more positively than China in 22 out of 24 countries, with only respondents in Kenya and Nigeria favouring the Asian giant, according to the poll carried out between February and May of this year.

The biggest gaps in positive sentiment were found in Japan, South Korea and Poland, where respondents were split by margins of more than 70-30 in favour of the US.

The poll found a similar divide in sentiment toward the US and Chinese leaderships, with 54 percent expressing confidence in Biden to do the right thing in world affairs, compared with 19 percent for Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Pew said that public opinion towards both countries deteriorated in 2020, following the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, but sentiment toward the US improved significantly after Biden’s inauguration the following year.

The pollster said that sentiment towards the US and China has fluctuated over the years, with some countries favouring China when former US Presidents Donald Trump and George W Bush were in office.

“These gaps in views of the American and Chinese leaders reflect both souring attitudes toward Xi in high-income countries and greater confidence in Biden – particularly compared with his predecessor, Donald Trump. Indeed, for much of his presidency, Trump received lower marks than Xi in many places surveyed,” Pew said in an analysis accompanying the poll.

“This also happened at the end of the Bush era in 2007, when limited confidence in then-President George W. Bush and relatively positive ratings for China’s then-President Hu Jintao led to more positive ratings for Hu than Bush in most places.”

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