Chinese flag
A girl displays a Chinese flag. Reuters

China is the top economy in the world, the majority of Americans believe, according to the latest Gallup Poll.

The poll reveals that 52 percent of Americans believe China is the leading economic power in the world, 32 percent believe the US is the leader, and 7 percent believe Japan is the leader.

According to Gallup, more Americans chose China's as the answer over America since 2008, although the percentage of people who did this has noticeably increased in 2011.

This is in stark contrast to 2000, when 65 percent of Americans thought the US was the world's top economy and 16 percent thought the titled belonged to China.

US, China, and Japan have historically accounted for the vast majority of choices selected by Americans. In 2011, 93 percent of them picked one of the three. The other choices are the European Union, Russia, and India.

The facts, using economic size as a criteria, don't support Americans' view, however.

The European Union (if one considers that as a single entity) is actually the largest economy in the world, but only 3 percent of Americans thought it was the top economy.

The US is the second largest economy and clearly ahead of China. Japan is third, India is fourth, and Russian is fifth.

Public polls often reveal that a surprisingly large number of American have beliefs that contradict facts.

Thinking China is the leading economy in the world is one. Another is believing President Obama is Muslim.