Americans now view China as the nation’s greatest enemy, more than doubling the rate from last year, when Americans were “equally as likely to say either China or Russia was the U.S.’s greatest enemy.”
According to a Gallup poll released Tuesday, 46 percent of Americans believe China is the greatest enemy, followed by Russia at 26 percent and North Korea at 9 percent. Iran ranked fourth, down 15 points to four percent.
China is up 23 percent from 2020, while Russia’s yearly adjustment is only up three.
“Over the past several years, there have been noticeable fluctuations between the country perceived as the nation’s greatest adversary; China last ranked No. 1 in 2014, Russia topped the list in 2020, 2019 and 2014, and North Korea ranked highest in 2018 and 2016,” the poll noted.
Moreover, the perception of China as the greatest threat is partisan. Seventy-six percent of Republicans view China as the greatest threat, while 22 percent of Democrats said the same. Conversely, only six percent of Republicans name Russia in contrast to Democrats, who set the mark at 47 percent.
Independents notably believe China is the greatest threat at 43 percent, placing Russia below at 24 percent.
“While Americans perceive China as the country’s top enemy, half also believe that China is the world’s leading economic power,” the poll found. Indeed, this change in perception may be based upon the slump in the U.S. economy due to coronavirus amid a period when China has experienced overall GDP growth.
In turn, the poll also found 63 percent of Americans believe “the economic power of China is a critical threat to the vital interests of the U.S. in the next 10 years. An additional 30% describe it as an important, but not critical, threat.”