Is Donald Trump’s “adversarial approach” to China responsible for its bad image in the US, as Axios argues today? Or could it be that it’s China’s adversarial approach — and the consequences that come from it — that has a record number of Americans seeing China unfavorably? This actually started before the pandemic, in Pew Research’s previous iterations of attitudes about China, so keep an open mind about this lead from Axios:
Two-thirds of Americans now view China unfavorably, up from 47% two years ago, according to data from Pew that suggests the increasingly adversarial approach from Washington is spreading throughout the country.
The big picture: Americans have tended to view China negatively since 2013, but that sentiment has grown dramatically over the past two years amid the U.S-China trade war and, more recently, the coronavirus pandemic. In that time, the proportion of Americans who view China very unfavorably has more than doubled (15% to 33%).
In this case, correlation to the pandemic isn’t terribly useful, except to explain how we got from 60% last year to 66% in Pew’s March survey. One might wonder, actually, why it wasn’t any higher than that. Oddly enough, their favorable level (26%) didn’t change at all from Pew’s 2019 iteration, even while states began issuing stay-at-home protocols and millions of people were losing their jobs over the coronavirus outbreak.