A comprehensive Pew Research Center survey released on Thursday showed that thousands more people have shifted to believing that China will supplant the U.S. as the world’s dominant superpower, compared to a similar survey done in 2008.
In 23 of 39 nations surveyed, the majority of respondents say China is already the world’s top superpower or that it will become so in coming years. Only majorities in six countries believe that China will never beat out the U.S. in this respect. In Europe and most of the Latin America countries polled, this held as the predominant view.
The survey polled 37,653 people in 39 countries.
Views on the economic might of the two nations also shifted between 2008 and the present.
In 2008, 47 percent of the roughly 37,6500 people surveyed saw the U.S. as the world’s leading economic power. In 2013, that fell to 41 percent, while those saying the same of China rose from 20 percent to 34 percent.
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The survey also found rising tension between American and Chinese citizens, who view each other with increasing suspicion.
About 37 percent of Americans express a positive view of China, down from 51 percent two years ago. Similarly, only 40 percent of Chinese view Americans favorably, down 58 percent from a 2010 poll. People under 30, however, tended to view both nations more positively.
If you take into account other countries, though, the U.S. has a better global reputation than China. More people view the U.S. as a partner nation, though few countries view either China or the U.S. as an enemy.
The survey also covered global public opinion on U.S. drone strikes, China’s military strength and China's human rights record.
In Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa, where much of China's investment has been focused in recent years, attitudes toward China are largely positive.