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. Fan of Common Sense

    The FEDERAL GOVERNMENT is America's biggest economic threat.

    If your team is going to keep dropping the ball, don't blame the other team for picking it up and running with it.

    November 16, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  2. Kadjere

    I think economic threat is a misnomer. China's potential world dominance is inevitable given its current global economic dynamic.

    What should be of more concern to Americans is their current strategy of trying to push down democracy and human rights down everybody's throat as a precondition to partnership. China has cleverly avoided that route and lets every country manage its internal politics while at the same making sure that its (China's) agenda remains on target. For example, China's approach in investing in Developing countries has had no regard for the recepient's political landscape and even worse than that contributing to significant degradation of the environment with impunity.

    November 16, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  3. John Greenwood

    The headline should read:

    "American's Have Mixed Reactions About Whether or Not China is an Economic Threat"

    Whenever something is within the margin of error it is safe to assume that the poll is even. What a misleading headline!

    John
    Minneapolis, MN

    November 16, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  4. JES

    We need to wake up and get Obama out of Asia before he gives more American jobs away. Everytime I turn around it's other countries getting American jobs due to their child labor and crummy products.

    Buy American it's hard to do these days.

    November 16, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  5. Mark

    Did anyone tell the liberal no minds that we are no in debt to China for over a trillion dollars?

    Thats also not including Obamacare.

    November 16, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  6. andy

    China has always been a threat. Where was all these people when Obama borrowed a TRILLION dollars from China to pay for his so called stimulas plan. We, no our children's grandchildren, are in debt to China for generations to come. I hope they like Chinese food. Thanks Obama.

    November 16, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  7. They call me "tater salad"

    Once again CNN never missing an opportunity to use farce polls to try to sway public opinion to the right!.........Nice try!!!!!

    November 16, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  8. I am the Not-So-Great and Powerless Wizard of Rush

    85 % say that CNN is "poll-happy"
    70% say that CNN uses its own polls to create news on slow days.
    100 % are amused that CNN paid $ 8 million to Lo.u Do.bbs

    November 16, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  9. marcia

    Duh!
    Let's just hope they don't want
    all their loans repaid at once!
    China now owns more US debt than
    any other nation!
    As one man put it..."it's in the Apocalyptic range!"

    November 16, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  10. Luke Brown

    Ten percent of China's exports go to ... Wal-Mart. Overall, Americans are their biggest consumers. The Chinese also are the largest international holders of US debt instruments.

    I seriously doubt that they are much of a threat on too many levels.

    November 16, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  11. TOKYOTO

    The people answering this blog question who are fearful and confused about Obama, China, and our debt, are less than intelligent. Obama bowed to Prime Minister Hatoyama of Japan, not President Hu Jintao of China. The Chinese currency is the Yuan, not the Yen. And the U.S. has only been debt free once since 1776. You've just been schooled. Class dismissed.

    November 16, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  12. Lynne

    What are the odds that most of the people responding that China is an economic threat shop at Wal Mart?

    November 16, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  13. Stu

    And all the meanwhile we turn a blind eye to illegal immigration and all the associated problems, and play politically-correct war against an ideology that holds the destruction of Israel and the U.S. as its central goals, and continue to clamor for more and more welfare here at home.

    November 16, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  14. Bluebonnet

    The US has the highest corporate tax rate than ANY country! Until all you entitlement libs figure this out and quit expecting everyone to bail you out and pay for everything, this country will continue to be in dire need of reform. Lower corporate tax, quit this massive government spending and get companies back here! Its really quite simple but democrats just can't see beyond gimme!

    November 16, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  15. Gary

    China is our banker, they lend us money so we can buy their cheap junk. We need to balance the budget this year and every year! We need to have EVERYONE working and EVERYONE paying some taxes. We have to stop promising free stuff (food, housing, healthcare) to people. NOTHING IS FREE!!!! China isn't our economic threat, we are our own economic threat.

    November 16, 2009 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  16. WIlly Brown

    Don't worry, daddy Obummer will talk to them and say we Americans are bad, bad spenders forgive us.

    November 16, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  17. Too True For You

    Well, duh. We let all our jobs and manufacturing move over there thanks to an unbridled faith in pure free market economy, and then we start whining "Our jobs are going overseas! We don't make anything anymore! Waaaahhhh!"

    The truth is, it is a symbiotic relationship that neither country can afford to fail, so we are just as much an economic threat to them as they are to us.

    Since we greedily sent all our manufacturing offshore, the REAL threat is in the event of a conflict they can flip into production of military materiel at the drop of a hat and overwhelm us while we are scrambling to ramp back up. We have few heavy manufacturing facilities left, no workforce ready to man them, and little raw materials production to support it. All because we fell hook, line, and sinker into the pockets of Big Money and the failed conservative ideologies of trickle down crapola.

    November 16, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  18. B

    If this is true, we helped make it that way....

    Will we ever learn? Everyone keeps saying "We are the best"

    Just take a real look around you people !!!!!!

    The country and everyone in never higher debt.

    High school dropout rate never been higher.

    Government bought by corporations.

    No good healthcare for working people.

    Personal debt never been higher.

    Two Wars not payed for.

    Most of the economy being used for national defense..

    But we are sure the biggest toughest and the best there is on the planet....... Wake up America !

    November 16, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  19. Capitalism made China our future enemy on purpose.

    We will have to fight them 20 years from today.The geedy people that started this figure they will be dead by then,most of those people are rich republicans,that dont care about anyone.

    November 16, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  20. Jim in San Mateo

    And every time you shop at WalMart, you increase the economic threat from China.

    The way it is now is that we design it and China makes it, but because the US puts so little money into education (precisely at the time it should do just the opposite), America is falling further and further behind in the design race. Pretty soon, our products will not only be made in China, but they will be designed in China and there will be no design or manufacturing base left in this country.

    The tea partyers, just like the prodigal son, want everything now. They are not willing to make investments in this country's future. They nay say the effects of global warming. Too expensive. Like storm and flood damage are cheaper?

    By the time we recognize the educational deficit we are creating for ourselves, it will be too late to do anything about it and we will never catch up.

    November 16, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  21. D.

    Economic threats to America:
    (1) The People's Republic of China.
    (2) The Democratic Party of the USA.

    November 16, 2009 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  22. alpha_nu_916

    even if we slashed the tax rate for us businesses, china would still have an economic advantage because they produce goods at a fraction of the cost in the united states. they pay their workers nothing, have little in the way regulations, & have a vast amount of resources.
    ever wonder what chinese health care is like? do you like the smog blanketing beijang? can you survive on $1 a day? like working until you die? if you answered yes , tell your local politicians to eviscerate regulations to compete with china.
    all those clamoring for the good ole' days fail to realize that the us's future economy lies in new technologies and services, not manufacturing.

    November 16, 2009 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  23. cutthebull

    "The US has the highest corporate tax rate than ANY country! Until all you entitlement libs figure this out and quit expecting everyone to bail you out and pay for everything, this country will continue to be in dire need of reform. Lower corporate tax, quit this massive government spending and get companies back here! Its really quite simple but democrats just can't see beyond gimme!"

    Corporate taxes granted are high but whats more ridiculous is CEO and administration wages. Imagine how much less a company could sell its products for if CEO crooks didn't bank massive incomes on top of massive bonuses. In case you missed the last decade.. One of the biggest spenders in our history was Bush. last time I checked he was a republican. Also, Bush lowered taxes on the rich and spoon fed corporate America. Last time I checked the Jobs seriously started disappearing on his watch. I know a lot of rich folks.. one thing is for sure the more money they have the more they want and most could care less how they get it or whom it hurts.

    I love the republican trickle down joke. Give me all your money and I will give you a job... Wheres all the jobs? Wheres all the money? Obama must have stole it all.

    November 16, 2009 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  24. Jerry

    We may not want to count China as an enemy since they are becoming what we once were, the leading manufacturer in the world. Normally, investing a country like China makes sense since it may be the only way to make some of our money back!

    November 16, 2009 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  25. W l Jones

    We have an economic advantage over China do to the fact we have vast farm land under use at this time. With a large population an little land we can sell lot of food,timber and other raw material.

    November 16, 2009 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
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