Americans did not expect protests in China to lead to the country changing its COVID policy

Linley SandersData Journalist
December 09, 2022, 7:22 PM GMT+0

On Wednesday, China loosened some of its most stringent COVID measures after protests over the country's zero-COVID policy, which severely restricted who could enter China and put in place strict lockdowns whenever new cases were discovered [the Chinese government did not explicitly say that the protests prompted the change in restrictions].

Few Americans believed a loosening of the country's rules would follow the protests. Just 23% of Americans in the latest Economist/YouGov Poll, conducted prior to China loosening some of their COVID policies, said the protests would lead to China loosening the restrictions. Two in five (40%) believed the protests would not lead to such change, and about as many were uncertain (38%). Democrats (27%) and Republicans (24%) were similarly likely to say that the protests would not result in lighter COVID rules in China.

Many Americans are sympathetic toward the protesters in China: 54% of Americans believe the Chinese government’s zero-COVID policy is too strict. That belief is especially high among Republicans (66%), with 51% of Independents in agreement. About half of Democrats (47%) call the policy too strict, though 35% say it's about right.

— Carl Bialik and Taylor Orth contributed to this article

See the toplines and crosstabs from the Economist/YouGov poll conducted on December 3 - 6, 2022 among 1,500 U.S. adult citizens.

Methodology: Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel using sample matching. A random sample (stratified by gender, age, race, education, geographic region, and voter registration) was selected from the 2019 American Community Survey. The sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, education, 2020 election turnout and presidential vote, baseline party identification, and current voter registration status. Demographic weighting targets come from the 2019 American Community Survey. Baseline party identification is the respondent’s most recent answer given prior to June 1, 2022, and is weighted to the estimated distribution at that time (34% Democratic, 31% Republican). The margin of error for the overall sample is approximately 3%.

Image: Getty Images (Kevin Frayer)

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