February 18th, 2010
05:39 AM ET
12 years ago

CNN Poll: Most Americans say Tibet should be independent

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/18/art.tibet.file.gi.jpg caption="Most Americans think Tibet should be an independent country."]Washington (CNN) - Nearly three-quarters of all Americans think that Tibet should be an independent country, according to a new national poll.

But the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Thursday also indicates that most Americans think it is more important to maintain good relations with China than to take a stand on Tibet.

The poll's release came as President Barack Obama was to meet with the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader in exile of Tibet, at the White House.

The Dalai Lama is popular with Americans, according to the survey, with 56 percent holding a favorable view of him and only 18 percent having an unfavorable impression.

"That puts him in the same neighborhood as other major religious figures," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Favorable ratings for the Pope, at 59 percent, and Billy Graham, at 57 percent are virtually identical to the numbers for the Dalai Lama."

The poll also indicates that 53 percent say it's more important for the United States to take a strong stand on human rights in China rather than to maintain good relations with Beijing, with 44 percent saying good relations are more important.

By a 6 point margin, the survey also shows that more Americans say taking a strong stand on Taiwan by force is more important than maintaining good relations with Beijing.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted February 12-15, with 1,023 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points for the overall survey.

–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this story

Filed under: China • CNN poll • Dalai Lama • President Obama
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. david

    the usa depends on china, not tibet. almost all of our products are made in china, not tibet. we borrowed billions from china, not tibet. our economy is linked to china, not tibet. china owns the usa and many chinese people are here legally and illegally. the only thing china has not done yet is garrison chinese troops here but that may soon happen the way we depend china for every thing.

    February 18, 2010 05:47 am at 5:47 am |
  2. Willy Brown

    Who cares really

    February 18, 2010 05:49 am at 5:49 am |
  3. D.

    Tibet should be independent and not be used for political advancements with China as the president did the first time. Now that he does not he angers the Chinese even more! A rookie mistake............

    February 18, 2010 05:54 am at 5:54 am |
  4. Tammy

    Of course, it should be. It was invded and conquered by the Chinese. They are persecuting the Tibetans the same way they are the non-Chinese minorities in their western provinces. Cultural and national destruction.

    February 18, 2010 06:04 am at 6:04 am |
  5. Kevin

    I would like to see a free Tibet, but it just isn't going to happen. It's not because of China's insistence that they are part of the culture and history of Chinese civilization or any other excuses they put forth. Plain and simple: the Tibetan plateau, the dwindling glaciers, the source of the Mekong... this accounts for 40% of the drinking water for China. No way in hell will they ever part with control of it. Literally it would have to be pried from their cold dead fingers. Watch what happens when those glaciers disappear.

    February 18, 2010 06:15 am at 6:15 am |
  6. joe smith

    I'd like to know who MOST Americans are; I venture to say, most Americans don't even know where Tibet is, and could care less. Now if you really want to report on something, why is oil/barrel going up like there is no tomorrow..we know, got to keep the masses broke, and the only must have, and can't control commodity is oil..wonder why the left doesn't chide the White House on this uncontrolable snipit, as they did with Bush/Cheney..

    February 18, 2010 06:42 am at 6:42 am |

    Tibet must be independent country because Tibet was an independent country before the Chinese communist invades Tibet in 1950.

    February 18, 2010 07:05 am at 7:05 am |
  8. Conservative Voice

    Because of some very bad moves, we owe China a lot of $$$$. That places us in between a rock and a hard place....Tibet should have been free a long time ago. Taiwan should also be free...but if China calls in our debt....how free can we be? China has a poor track record on nearly everything....human rights, environmental issues...the list goes on...but the US was stupid enough to go into debt with them....

    February 18, 2010 07:14 am at 7:14 am |
  9. AJ

    Judging from teh actions of the republican party and the tea baggers, many Americans couldn't care less about America much less Tibet.

    February 18, 2010 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  10. Charlie in Maine

    Obama, Dalai Lama meeting could 'irritate China very much'

    Well we will just have to live with that won't we.

    February 18, 2010 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  11. RTB

    It is remarkable to witness the spiritual strength of the Dalai Lama while Tibet is being raped and pillaged by the Chinese occupation.

    February 18, 2010 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  12. chop

    China is financing this country, go ahead and make them mad. You will see the mother of all depressions here.

    February 18, 2010 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  13. Dk U

    I agree on Tibet to become an independent country, but what do most Americans think about making Nigeria three independent countries?

    February 18, 2010 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  14. Black Viper

    According to my own Poll at work, 75% of American doesn't know where Tibet is located at.
    That i am quite certain. This shows CNN polls are sometimes fabricated to manipulate the public.
    American people don't even know they've got Tax cut under Obama how in the world they know where Tibet is located at.

    February 18, 2010 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  15. beevee

    What president Obama is doing in meeting with Dalai lama is the right thing to do for an American President and not be intimidated by threats from China on this matter. The US can also blame China for not supporting sanctions on iran while the rest of world agrees with it. Good going Mr. President.

    February 18, 2010 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  16. File under "Sarcasm"

    While I agree with the poll results, it is a wonderful example of the shallowness of opinion polls. I'll bet three quarters of the people polled don't even know where Tibet is. And almost as many probably had no idea who Tibet should be freed from other than guessing from the ancillary question pitting good China relations against a stand on Tibet.

    February 18, 2010 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  17. JonDie

    Maybe. But here's a news flash to you, my fellow Americans. We Americans don't vote on who gets what in the world. And we certainly aren't in a position to push China around. In fact, our arrogance in thinking we can doesn't bode well FOR OUR FUTURE.

    February 18, 2010 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  18. JonDie

    By the way, my fellow Americans, if you really think Tibet should be independent, you should a) be willing to join the military and fight and die for it and/or b) give up something material (like your money) to obtain the goal.

    I didn't think so.

    February 18, 2010 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  19. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Tibet should be a independent country.

    February 18, 2010 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  20. mike

    I could care less what China thinks if they start tell us what to do and
    we give in then our independents is loss I don't give a crap how
    much business we do with them and its about time that we stop being
    sold this idea that in order for our government to work we have to listen
    to the parties and how the media plays us like fiddle just look at the tea party and how all of a sudden when McCain senate seat is threaten
    the republican party wants to have a deal with them look what happen to
    JOE THE PLUMBER and were he is at today they used him to get
    votes and when they were done they thru him under the bus

    February 18, 2010 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  21. Moderate

    Tibet should be independent. We know why they are not. So why did we have the Olympics in China? Why are Native Americans still treated like third class citizens when the land under our feet belongs to them? It's simple. For some odd reason we accept that to the victor goes the spoils.

    It's arcaic, simple minded and insane, but we, along with the rest of the world do it.

    Is there a moral to the story? I'm waiting to see, but one thing I clearly like, President Obama, Don't let the Red Chinese tell you what to do!

    February 18, 2010 08:45 am at 8:45 am |