A growing share of Americans view China as an enemy of the United States

Taylor OrthDirector of Survey Data Journalism
February 16, 2023, 2:43 PM GMT+0

New polling by the Economist and YouGov finds that a majority of Americans (55%) have heard “a lot” about the Chinese balloon that transited the United States until it was shot down earlier this month, representing a 7-percentage-point increase in awareness about the incident since the previous week. Polling over the past few weeks also shows that a growing share of Americans consider China to be an "enemy" of the U.S. — more than have thought that at any previous time they were asked by the Economist/YouGov poll during the Biden and Trump administrations.

By 79% to 7%, Americans believe the U.S. military shooting down the Chinese surveillance balloon was the "right decision.” A smaller majority — 55% — say it was the right decision to wait to shoot the balloon down until it was over open water, a decision the government said was made to prevent injury to people on the ground. About one-third say waiting was the wrong decision. That includes about half of Republicans and just 10% of Democrats.

The incident of the spy balloon may have affected American opinions about China, the source of that balloon. In this week’s poll, 43% say China is an "enemy" of the United States, the highest percentage of any poll since the beginning of the Trump administration that asked the question.

— Carl Bialik contributed to this article

See the toplines and crosstabs from the Economist/YouGov poll conducted on February 11 - 14, 2023 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

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