As US politicians pump up the confrontational talk on trade and security issues related to China, the American public is warming to the image emanating from the Middle Kingdom.
A Gallup poll released last week showed that more than 50% of Americans hold a favorable view of China for the first time in almost three decades. The last time the US public had such positive views of China was before the June 1989 killing of pro-democracy protestors in Tiananmen Square. Before that incident a whopping 72% of Americans held a favorable view of the country.
China fares significantly better among Democrats than among Republicans, the poll found, with 59% of Democrats holding a positive view, versus 42% of Republicans. Positive views of China also fall precipitously among older respondents. Only 39% of those aged 55 and older responded affirmatively, while 67% of the 18-34 demographic gave China a thumbs up.
Meanwhile, Japan’s standing among the US populace is skyrocketing to record highs, hitting an 87% favorability mark at the time of the survey, which was taken February 1-10, across all fifty US states.
Americans’ positive attitudes toward Japan transcend age, gender, income, education or political views. Among men, those with annual household incomes over US$75,000, and the college-educated the percentage of favorable views of Japan is over 90%.