November 16th, 2009
04:08 PM ET
5 years ago

CNN Poll: Americans say China's an economic threat

Washington (CNN) – Americans are split over whether China represents a military threat to the United States - but there is no doubt in the public's mind that the country poses an economic threat, according to a new national poll.

According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Monday, 51 percent of the public consider China a military threat, with 47 percent disagreeing. That 4-point margin is within the poll's 4.5 percent sampling error.

The poll's Monday release comes as President Barack Obama makes his first visit to China, looking to bolster relations with that nation. He made the case to Chinese student at a Monday town hall that the countries' philosophical differences should not get in the way of a robust relationship.

According to the survey, two-thirds see China as a source of unfair competition for U.S. companies, while only a quarter are more likely to view China as a huge potential market for U.S. goods.


"That may be why 71 percent of Americans consider China an economic threat to the U.S.," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Americans tend to view foreign countries as competition, and China is no exception."

Only a quarter of those questioned in the poll say that China has a good track record on human rights. Sixty-eight percent suggested that China is doing a bad job respecting the human rights of its citizens.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted November 13-15, with 1,014 adult Americans questioned by telephone.

–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report


Filed under: China • CNN poll • President Obama
soundoff (76 Responses)
  1. Open Your 3rd Eye

    This poll = Americans are still stupid

    Some of you people are so easily manipulated it makes me sick to my stomach. China a threat? Really? To whom EXACTLY?

    Could it be America's interest in controlling EVERYTHING and EVERYBODY?

    I'm so done with this country. And it has nothing to do with the president just to be clear.

    Bye Now! Idiots! :)

    November 16, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  2. Just Me

    Well, if you recognize they are a threat, why are you still buying their cheaply made goods? Why are you still hanging out at Walmart? Reason: you really dont give a darn. You want your cheap products like many and you don't see or truly care about the long term impact of it all. So stop with the fakesness & hippocracy. You cannot have it both ways America.

    November 16, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  3. demsrulz

    Corporate greed and unfair U.S. Free trade laws are the threat... And the GOP are the union for corporate america!

    November 16, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  4. johnathan

    It's just now that people are thinking this?

    I've long maintained that we better learn to speak Chinese... and quick!

    November 16, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  5. LoLo

    Please don't blame Obama for this also. Bush borrowed the money first. Is this a suprises to anyone that they are an economic threat. Some people swear that they are so smart, and don't know a thing.

    November 16, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  6. Richp

    Our biggest threat is our congress and senate, the ones who keep upping the corporate taxes, squeezing more money out of stone and driving companies out to cheaper countries like Ireland, S Korea, etc who have dropped their corporate taxes down to 12%, we're at around 45% now.

    November 16, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  7. geescard

    CNN is now part of Mr. Soetero's political organization.

    November 16, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  8. The Lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    China has been waging economic war with us since Nixon let them in. Whose fiat money will win out? The US Dollars or the yen? Hmmm which country is in debt over 12 trillion dollars, or that's right the USA.

    November 16, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  9. Julie

    And how many Americans are going to stop buying anythng made in China???? Stop shopping at discount stores and dollar stores??? We may talk a mean tale of opposition to China but we let our wallets tell the true story. Until we face that fact, it's all just words with no substance.

    November 16, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  10. Kevin Evansville, IN

    Americans have an "us vs them" attitude., but really the biggest economic threat has come from Americans. We've shipped all our production jobs overseas, and made financial sector jobs such a large part of the economy. We have always been, and will continue to be, the biggest factor in our downfall as a nation.

    November 16, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  11. Four and The Door

    China is not nearly as much an economic threat to the American economy as the current administration and congress are. They have lost any interest in creating jobs or helping companies put Americans back to work. The 'Stimulus" bill was a farce.

    The only answer they have for the economy anymore is to point fingers at the previous administration. Don't hold your breath waiting for them to spend much time trying to help the economy. They are all about trying to spend another $1 trillion on a poorly devised health care bill now. It's more politically important.

    November 16, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  12. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert but.....

    And yet, the proposed healthcare reform legislation will cost as much, over 10 years, as one year of defense spending. Eisenhower was right. Cross of irony. Have a nice day!

    November 16, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  13. Open Your 3rd Eye

    This poll = Americans are still stupid.

    China a threat? Really? To whom exactly??

    Bye Now! :)

    November 16, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  14. Dale

    Anyone who don't see them as a economic threat must have been in a coma for the last 10 years. We have lost millions of OUR jobs to China which absolutely don't play the FAIR trade game.

    It's totally lopsided trade dealing with China. It's a lost cause. And our political leaders have all been bought out so! Can't wait for 2010.

    November 16, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  15. Idiot_Pelosi

    Well, no DUH.

    With RECORD DEFICITS under OBOZO, they have purchased most of our debt and therefore control us.

    Way to go OBOZO.

    November 16, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  16. Debbie

    China is an economic threat as well as military threat.

    November 16, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  17. Party Purity will never bring Political Power!

    And to all the whining cons about President Obama bowing to the emporeror of China.

    How else, would you expect the manager of this country to greet the owner?

    After 15 years of "voodoo" economics, of course, China owns us!

    November 16, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  18. Fair is Fair

    And when China stops buying treasuries, where do all you GIMME GIMME GIMME liberals think the money for your entitlements is going to come from? Taxing the rich? Guess again – there aren't enough of them. Taxing the middle class – now THATS where the bucks are!

    November 16, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  19. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    China's military is no threat to us as long as they are holding our paper notes, they want to be paid not threaten war. Would your bank threaten to kill you because you owe them money or would they go after your assets. China is doing business with the whole World and not interested in using military threats, I don't foresee them wasting their capital in war. Think about it.

    November 16, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  20. idiot_Boehner

    We had to borrow from China for Bush's unnecessary war in Iraq and his bail out of the banking industry (with no strings attached.) Blame Obama for only the debt he is responsible.

    November 16, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  21. John independent from NY

    We are our own worst threat. Keep building up the national debt and we will be in servitude before long. BUSH did most but Obama has increased the pace. Dollar to zero coming soon.

    November 16, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  22. Stephan

    Flashback – 1991 – The Europoean Union will overrun the American economy. The Euro will be the end of the dollar. The American Empire is failing.

    Didn't happen. You can't have an economic threat, only an economic partner.

    November 16, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  23. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    They're an economic threat because we have LET THEM become an economic threat. If we would have not let our economic house get out of order (over the last several decades) and if we would not have sold off our manufacturing base, we would be head & shoulders above them right now. We need to pass the BALANCED BUDGET AMMENDMENT before China owns ALL of this country.

    November 16, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  24. idiot_Boehner

    I wonder what the front runner in the GOP, Sarah Palin or her two sock puppets (Mr. Mittens and Little Timmy) would say about this.

    November 16, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  25. Fred the Moderate

    Not true, all of Asia and India are threats. Veit Nam is growing in manuf. When you get collection calls, isn't the caller from India? We can't cloth ourselves, collect or answer question for ourselves and many other things. If America were smart, it would level this playing field and fast.

    November 16, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
1 2 3 4