New Delhi: Only 30 per cent of Americans see an unprecedented third term for Chinese President Xi Jinping as a major problem for the US and larger shares are concerned with issues like the partnership between China and Russia and Beijing’s military power, a new survey by US-based Pew Research revealed.
The survey, conducted from 10-16 October with a sample size of 5,098 US adults, found that Americans don’t see a third term for Xi as the most pressing issue when it comes to China.
Rather, 57 per cent say the partnership between China and Russia is a very serious problem for the US. Meanwhile, 50 per cent say the same about China’s military power, 43 per cent say tensions between China and Taiwan, 42 per cent say China’s human rights record and 41 per cent say economic competition with China.
The survey also found that 54 per cent of respondents felt the US should continue to have high-level politicians visit Taiwan even if it harms bilateral relations with China. This comes two months after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan elicited a strong reaction from Beijing.
In contrast to this, 38 per cent of Americans say the US should prioritise relations with China rather than sending politicians to Taiwan.
Americans increasingly concerned about China’s military power, Taiwan
The survey also compared Americans’ views on five issues — China-Russia partnership, China’s military power, tensions between China and Taiwan, China’s human rights record and economic competition with China — to responses gathered earlier in March.
For three out of the five issues — China’s military power, tensions between China and Taiwan, and economic competition with China — Americans have become increasingly concerned.
In March, 28 per cent of respondents felt tensions between China and Taiwan was a very serious problem for the US but this figure has now increased to 43 per cent.
Similarly, 43 per cent of Americans viewed China’s military power as a major cause for concern seven months ago, and now this figure has shot up to 50 per cent.
When it comes to economic competition with China, 35 per cent of Americans flagged it as a serious problem, and this number has now risen to 41 per cent. The survey further noted, “Roughly half of Americans were also concerned about China’s growing technological power in a separate Pew Research Center survey in 2021.”
Meanwhile, an opposite trend has occurred with Americans’ views on another issue — the China-Russia partnership.
In March, 62 per cent of Americans viewed the China-Russia partnership as a serious problem for the US and this figure has now fallen by five percentage points to 57 per cent.
Commenting on this decline, the survey noted: “The earlier survey was fielded just a few weeks after Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine.”
Meanwhile, the share of Americans who see China’s human rights policies as a very serious problem for the US hasn’t changed since March.
The survey also observed demographic trends in the responses of Americans based on age, education and party alignment.
When it comes to age, older Americans are far more concerned than the younger lot about each of the issues asked about in the survey. For example, those 65 and older are 24 percentage points more likely than those aged 18-29 to see the partnership between China and Russia as a very serious problem for the US.
Further, Americans with at least a college degree are also slightly less likely than those with less education to see some of these problems as very serious for the US. For example, when it comes to Xi assuming a third term, 25 per cent of college graduates see it as a serious problem compared to 33 per cent of nongraduates — a gap of about 8 percentage points.
There are, however, no differences of opinion between graduates and nongraduates on the question of the China-Russia partnership or tensions between mainland China and Taiwan.
The poll also showed that conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats are equally likely to say that the US should continue to send high-level politicians to Taiwan (61 per cent vs 64 per cent).
Meanwhile, moderates in each party are considerably less likely to hold this view.
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