China the top world economy, Americans say
February 14th, 2011
09:52 AM ET
12 years ago

China the top world economy, Americans say

Washington (CNN) - Americans now overwhelmingly believe China is the leading economy in the world, according to a new poll, a significant change from two years ago when Americans viewed the U.S. economy and that of China on roughly equal ground.

A Gallup poll released Monday indicates that 52 percent of Americans now name China as the leading world economic power, compared to 32 percent who say the United States is tops when it comes to the economy. When the same questioned was asked in 2009, 39 percent said China while 37 percent named the United States.

The United State's GDP continues to outstrip that of China, though Americans' views may be influenced by China's significant economic growth over the last several years compared to a contraction in the U.S. economy during the same period.

"Few would argue that China's rocketing economic growth looms as a formidable challenge to the United States' global economic leadership," Gallup says. "However, the majority of Americans believe the U.S. has already lost the challenge, and relatively few are confident that the situation will be reversed in 20 years."

The poll surveyed 1,015 Americans by telephone between February 2-5 and carries a sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points.

Filed under: China • Economy • Polls
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. ReFascistican

    China is the top economy solely because all the American jobs are there, they manipulate their currency and the labor is cheap.

    February 14, 2011 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  2. beevee

    It is not a leading economy but China is a cheap labor provider that makes amny US industries flock to China to lower production costs and make big profits. There is a lot of misinformation by the media regarding China's economic power.

    February 14, 2011 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  3. ThinkAgain

    What this poll indicates is that many Americans are woefully uninformed: The US is the top economy, followed by China that just surpassed Japan as the second-largest economy.

    C'mon folks! Start listening to real news and get informed! And if you want the US to stay the largest economy, demand legislative reform that doesn't reward companies for out-sourcing our jobs and that imposes tariffs on goods imported from China.

    While you're at it, stop deluding yourself that tax cuts for the rich result in jobs here at home. One of the reasons China is doing so well is because so many of those rich have been taking their extra cash and investing it in China – where labor is cheap, product safety is a pipe dream and environmental regulations are non-existent.

    February 14, 2011 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  4. Eric in RTP

    This poll only indicates how stupid Americans are, and how easily they are misled by a slight change in wording. Comparing growth in GDP is not the same as comparing GDP. Furthermore look at GDP to population ratio and you will see that China is actually one of the poorest countries in the entire world!

    February 14, 2011 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  5. kyle

    They should be number one, they have all the American jobs over there, and they pay slave wages.

    February 14, 2011 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  6. jules sand-perkins

    USA citizens wanting a realistic view of their nation's position in the world need to look around at their fellow citizens' abilities to do or produce anything salable on the world market.
    The ability to sign–or put one's mark on–a government check is not a salable commodity.
    Of course China is far ahead of us economically: its citizens have to work to get money, and rather than being encouraged to produce babies irresponsibly (for their checks), reproduction is controlled by the government.
    The slowness of our population to comprehend this is an indication of what's wrong in the USA.
    It is difficult for me to envision any remedy for this problem, but that does not mean that our nation was not great at one time.

    February 14, 2011 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  7. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Notice how people became more and more aware that the republicans were shifting our jobs overseas during the Bush/republican culture of corruption? We need to take America back by voting out every republican in 2012.

    February 14, 2011 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  8. Dean

    They have all of our money and all of our jobs. You can't go to the store and buy a basic item that is not made in China.

    February 14, 2011 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  9. truth

    IF Americans believe this, it's because they wallow in ignorance. Sure, we're constantly told the US lags behind China economically, but is it true? Organizations like CNN would like you to believe it is, but remember; CNN was also touted on worldwide news channels that protesters believed it was a big part of the recent revolution in Egypt. The truth is that the US is NOT behind China economically. China has built up a false image. If you dig past CNN's headlines, you'll see that China has built a house of cards. Massive housing projects with no one to live in the houses – giant unpopulated cities that affect stats, but support no city infrastructure. A currency that is artificially protected by China's government. THAT's China – not what the media would have us believe. This CNN report is malarkey. All this article proves is that Americans are easily swayed by the press.

    February 14, 2011 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  10. Seth

    The poll result is a clear indication of just how effing stupid the vast majority of American people are. The U.S. economy is three times the size of China's and 75% of the Chinese people live in abject poverty.

    The 52% of Americans should pick up an effing book occasionally.

    February 14, 2011 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  11. Rick McDaniel

    Even the Japanese, are producing their goods in China.

    Talk about taking over the world......when China got Hong Kong back. it destroyed the world's economy.

    February 14, 2011 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  12. Larry

    From a 2006 survey of young people 18-24 conducted by National Geographic:

    "Also striking is young Americans' ignorance of how the United States fits into the wider world. Majorities overestimate the total size of the U.S. population and fail to understand how much larger the population of China is. Three-quarters (74%) believe English is the most commonly spoken native language in the world, rather than Mandarin Chinese. Although 73% know the U.S. is the world's largest consumer of oil, nearly as many (71%) do not know the U.S. is the world's largest exporter of goods and services — half think it's China."

    Never poll Americans to assess their knowledge unless you want to embarrass the country. Stick to opinions, which they have in abundance. Frankly, I wish every opinion poll included questions to assess knowledge of the relevant subject area.

    February 14, 2011 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  13. kmp

    Thats unfortunate because it isn't true America still ranks top but combined the EU tops us by a billion dollars. Followed by China and Japan and we top both of those economies by over 8 trillion.

    February 14, 2011 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  14. Bill

    Stop pandering to the left's view that America is no longer the world's leading Superpower. Why is it that so many Americans, especially those on the left, so quickly to praise other nations and not their own? It's such a shame, and this coming from an Asian American that's talking. Look at the facts, or at least report it to your readers, the US economy is roughly 12 Trillion and the Chinese is about 5 Trilion. That's about half the US economy....and how does that make China the leading economy in the world? Look at what the US has brought to the world, in terms of inventions and creations, campare that to China. What has China invented in the last 50 years? Everything they make is a copy of what others have invented. That goes for not only consumer goods, but also military technology. Having hundred of millions of slave labor to make cheap products doesn't make you the world's leading economy. Prove that you can invent something meaningful and contribute to this world first. The only reason why China's economy is even alive is because their government manipulates their money to have an unfair advantage over the rest of the world.

    February 14, 2011 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  15. w l jones

    We here in America is the top economy in this world when figure in standard of living.

    February 14, 2011 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  16. Michelle Obama

    We can thank Obama for our continued decline. Rather than improve our standing in the world, he has actually managed to accelerate our decline economically. But hey, at least we all get free health care right? And it sure is fun to listen to him give a speech, right? I'm sure you'll all agree with me when I say that trade-off is always worth it.

    February 14, 2011 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  17. Grand Oil Party

    China enjoys this spot because it spends a sixth of what we do on defense. We are surrounded by two oceans and two friendly countries who have no desire to invade us. We have an armed populace. There is no reason for us to have the war machine that we have. Bring our troops home, close unneeded bases around the world and make our allies pitch in more to police the world – we can't afford it. If we want tax breaks and keep social security and medicaid, slashing the defense department is the only way to go.

    February 14, 2011 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  18. victim of democrat hypocrisy

    Just goes to show how perception is rarely reality.

    February 14, 2011 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  19. Tim

    This just goes to show that 52% of Americans don't know diddly squat about economics. US GDP is far higher than China's. I guess there's still a lot of doom and gloom out there. Of that 52%, I wonder who they would pin the blame on for their feelings?

    February 14, 2011 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  20. Publius13

    Small wonder, given the skewed coverage of economics in the MSM.

    February 14, 2011 11:31 am at 11:31 am |