August 4th, 2008
04:00 PM ET
15 years ago

Poll: Americans wary of China's economic, military strength

[cnn-photo-caption image=
caption="A new poll shows Americans think Bush should attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A new national poll suggests that most Americans think China is an economic threat to the United States, while the public is split on whether it is a military threat.

Seventy percent of those questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll released Monday afternoon said China is an economic threat to the United States, while 51 percent said it's a military threat as well.

The poll was released on the day President Bush left on a trip that will ultimately lead him to Beijing and the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics.

CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider said that "according to a new study by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, a growing number of Americans believe China's economy will one day be larger than that of the United States and that China will become America's chief competitor for power."

On human rights issues, the poll found Americans seem to be critical of China's stance toward Tibet, which it incorporated in 1951.

"What about Tibet - one of the biggest political issues that may emerge during the Games?" said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Eight in 10 Americans believe that Tibet should be an independent country; only 14 percent think that Tibet should be a part of China."

The president's announcement earlier this year that he was going to attend the opening ceremony met with criticism from a number of politicians and from Chinese dissidents. But the new survey indicates that Americans are OK with the president's attendance. Sixty-three percent of those questioned supported his decision to go.

"The public is increasingly critical of China, and worried about China's growing economic power," Schneider said. "But Americans don't endorse outright hostility. Especially at the Olympic Games, which are not supposed to be political."

The poll was conducted July 27 through 29. A total of 1,041 adult Americans were interviewed, but the questions on China being a threat and on Tibet were asked of half samples. The sampling error for those three questions is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points, while the sampling error for the question on Bush is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Filed under: President Bush
soundoff (124 Responses)
  1. kim hussein taylor portland, oregon

    "that most Americans think China is an economic threat to the United States"

    DUUUUHHHH, ya think?!?!?!? we DO owe them billions, after all!!!!!!

    but, by all means, if you like being under the thumb of a COMMUNIST country that doesnt particularly care for us, go right ahead and vote for mccain so we can stay vulnerable to china's COMMUNIST whims. (heh, he, do ya like how i did that, highlighted COMMUNIST, cuz you see we all know your Top 10 Phrases Rightie Rednecks Hate-and pinko commie is right up there!!! right after "The Democrats are the Party of Tax and Spend"-man, you guys will believe ANYTHING the whitey righties tell ya!!!)

    August 4, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  2. jane in CA

    Revise NAFTA. America has not been ready and does not have the regulations and foreign policy to do business globally at the same time to protect America's interest; especially dealing with China, India. Some of the countries naturally historically possess the conquering mentality and huge patience.

    August 4, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  3. "Pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it." Obama 95

    Keep taxing our companies into moving and China will be ahead sooner than we think...

    Buy hey... Change is in right.

    August 4, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  4. JEric

    China has got off easy over the corporate sponsored Olympic craze. Look closer and you will see we have every reason to target China for unfair trade practices. How about pegging their currency to keep it artificially low giving them an unreasonable advantage against other countries who play fair and allow their currency to float. How about their extremely protectionist regime, you can deal business in China so long as the Chinese government approves so the cash flow ultimately ends up in a single direction. The Bush policy towards China was outright idiotic, he got so caught up in nation building in the middle east he overlooked the largest economic threat, a powerful protectionist regime sucking in money and jobs from around the world.

    August 4, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  5. Mike from Westchester

    China has done little wrong regarding the U.S. Yes, they have internal issues. Yes, we need to encourage them to move forward. Yes, they are, in fact, moving forward – quickly in some ways, slowly in others.

    Our China problem is mostly our own doing. It is not their fault that they have taken all the money we have paid for their inexpensive manufactured goods and invested it in U.S. debt...;. and it's our own darn fault (especially the Bush Administration) that we have run up $4 trillion in debt in 8 years.

    Bold action is our only viable course of action and we will not get it with McCain. McCain would be a caretaker of the office of President. You want bold, visionary leadership, vote Obama. Lay your fears and cynicism aside and vote with optimism and, yes, hope for a better future.

    When Obama says "WE are the ones we've been waiting for", he means that the American people need to take the future into their own hands and it is "we the people" that must take responsibility for our future, not to wait for someone else to do it for us. It is not a statement of arrogance, but of recognition that the power lies in the people, not in one person (the President), or in Congress. We must pay attention. We must be involved. We must make it happen.

    August 4, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  6. Maggie, NC

    Bush is a fool. China is playing the world like a fiddle. I'm boycotting the Olympics in my home. I'm reading more, or doing something constructive. The communist may make the Chinese watch the games, but I'm still an American. I won't watch any of it because every bit of it is on the backs of people who didn't have a freedom of choice.

    When it comes to the Olypics, the only O I want to talk about is Obama.


    August 4, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  7. Vicki

    I'm so glad the Olympics is only on one channel. I'll try to watch the other channels and boycott.

    Obama 08

    August 4, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  8. Steve

    Hey, Texas Trail Puppy, put your hat back on. You're getting a bad case of sun stroke. It's pretty obvious that the "trail" you're on never actually got near any educational institution. You're angry and ignorant. Those are two characteristics that make you someone no one really wants to hear from. You're about 15 sunny minutes shy of pushing a shopping cart and raving to yourself.

    And, oh, by the way, see that little key just above the one with the arrow on it? That's called a Caps Lock key. Press it to discover a magic function of the keyboard (upper AND lower case).

    Now, re-read the article, and try to make a comment about it. I know it's tough, but if you keep taking your meds and stay out of the sun, you'll do a lot better.

    August 4, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  9. John McShame, Obama Is Going to Tax You & Cindy, but Not Me & 95% Americans Making < $250,000/Yr

    China's economic & military strength is what americans get for George Dubya & the john McSame republican party outsourcing american jobs overseas!

    John McSame judgement = brain paralysis!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

    August 4, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  10. Upon Further Review

    TRAILDOG,You may have missed your calling,"Jack commercials".

    August 4, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  11. Griff

    Give China and Russia enough rope, maybe they will "Hang each-other". The USA is "Adrift". China and Russia too close to each other..

    August 4, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  12. E.C.Coleman

    It is past time for the U.S. Government to become wary of China in all phases of economics, military, science, technology, and manufacturing. Most Americans don't even realize how huge and powerful and well trained the Chinese Military has become. Plus, China has a close and continuing relationship with Iran and Russia. There is cause to be suspicious and wary of China. No country on the face of the earth has developed so quickly, almost overnight, since mankind began. Yes, China is scary. However, China has built itself rapidly due to Western know-how, education and technology; China was spoon fed by the West. The West may end up being regretful of sharing so much with China.

    August 4, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  13. Crush Rush

    The Bible called them the "yellow hord" if Im not mistaken,correct me if Im wrong.

    August 4, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  14. M.S. Indiana

    Here is McCain solution, put a missile shield up in eastern Europe. As response Russia will put up a missile defense system in Cube and give them some bombers..

    Reminds me of good old day in the 50 and 60... be afraid of everything that moves... even your own shadow...

    well guess what America, we lost the economic race, we are not number one any more.. and on top of that we are begging to loose military power. We have so much tied up in Iraq. and China and Russia have nothing tied up.

    August 4, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  15. Kelby from Houston, TX

    I would be willing to be 5 dollars that most of the people you "polled" can't find China on a map...LOL

    But they know that we are in debt to their human right violating selves.
    Why are we in debt to China? Of all the freaking countries to be in debt to...THESE GUYS?!?!?!?!?!

    hELP US LORD help us

    August 4, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  16. souza

    They don't have to threaten the United States with their military, they will conquer us with their cheap toxic products filling our land fills.
    We allow the cheap and toxic products to enter the U.S. that fall apart and end up in the garbage.

    August 4, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  17. ben

    Why leave a comment? You guys don't even let me have a "waiting moderation!

    August 4, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  18. FactCheck

    Go ahead and vote for McCain all you PUMAs. I hope that you are fluent in Cantonese because they will own your jobs, your real estate and most likely your future. McCain describes himself as an "unapologetic supporter of NAFTA" (July 14, 2008), so there you go.

    August 4, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  19. Bayou Joe

    China is both a Military and Economic Threat to the United States.
    However the biggest threat to our country is in this race for the Whitehouse. The leader we choose this election will determine what this country represents and how we will continue to be the beacon of
    Democracy. That is why I am determined that no Socialist/Marxist
    leader will ever get elected to the Presidency.

    Our forefathers placed a condition of being president that the person
    be a United States Citizen. They envisioned a scenario like this one.
    We have two people who were not born in the U.S. vying for the highest office in the land. The question is which one of these foreign born candidates will protect and defend the interests of our nation.

    The answer. John S. McCain. Who willingly went to war, risked his life and has always been for the United States. Enough said.

    August 4, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  20. Jeff

    America's economy is larger than that of Switzerland's too, does that mean that we are an "economic threat" to Switzerland? I'm so sick and tired of the American "us vs. them", "everyone else is an enemy or challenger, mentality. We should be glad that the Chinese are becoming successful and we should welcome them as economic partners.

    August 4, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  21. Trudie

    I don't think Bill is a racist. I think he is an opportunist. When he is winning he loves black people, when they don't vote his way, they've got to go down.

    I'm wiping the tire marks from my back, and I will be voting for Barack Obama in November. Thanks Hillary for dropping out, you could not win mathematically anyway.

    August 4, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  22. David

    and the fact they can torpedo our economy at any time they want. between all the us dollars they have accumulated and the financing of the war on terror, they own us.

    August 4, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  23. David

    Hahahahaha. China owns us? Hahaha. We have a 14 Trillion dollar GDP, and we owe them only billions. We could pay that off in weeks, lol. However, I do believe we need to look into it and not borrow so much money from them. It's not just the money we owe them but all the interest which adds up. And a lot of it is for a tax stimulation package just so people can go out and buy Chinese goods with it. We borrow their money, so we can buy their products, and pay interest on it. Just plain silly.

    August 4, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  24. FactCheck


    Truly a reflection on the moronic underbelly and a prime reason why China now owns your rear.

    August 4, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  25. DJ in TX

    To a house divided – your comment has nothing to do with the article.

    CNN – this isn't anything new. The US in its rush to "Globalize" the economy, has invested billions of dollars in China, which in 1999 was an "emerging" country.

    We (the US) complain about its "human rights" violations, but yet still shifted our economic focus there. The olympic committee gave them the Olympics (over a US city BTW).

    Wal-Mart, back in the day used to push its "buy American" theme, now everything on the shelf is made in China.

    They continue to make products that can kill us and we continue to buy it.

    Can't really blame this on Republicans, but China came out of an emerging company during President Bush's term...........hmmm........

    BTW – they are a Communist country, but we did business as usual with them.

    August 4, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
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