Many people around the world think China will soon replace the U.S. as the world's leading superpower, as the U.S. economy struggles to recover from the financial meltdown of 2007, and as the Obama administration continues to draw sharp criticism for its underwhelming response to crises around the globe, according to a report released Monday by the Pew Research Center.
Luckily, however, America's Image around the world remains “mostly positive.” In fact, the U.S. is rated more favorably when compared to China in every single region of the world -- except for in the Middle East.
So at least we have that going for us, which is nice.
The survey, which was conducted from March 17-June 5, and surveyed 48,643 adults aged 18 or older in 44 countries, found that a median 49 percent of respondents believe China has replaced or will replace the U.S. as the global leader, while only 34 percent of respondents say this will not happen.
Each region surveyed by Pew, including Europe, the Middle East, Latin America Africa and Asia, shares this view.
Perhaps most unsettling is the fact that this view is held most strongly by America's allies in Europe: A median 60 percent of European countries surveyed, including Spain, Britain, France and Germany, say China will surpass the U.S., while only 33 percent say this will never happen.
Meanwhile, of the 11 Asian countries surveyed, including China, a median 42 percent say China will rise above the U.S., while only 36 percent believe the U.S. will remain in the top spot.
China has in recent years expanded its economy and increased the size of its military, leading to questions about its plans for global dominance and worries about its recent provocations in the South China Sea.
In exactly half of the the countries surveyed by Pew, majorities or pluralities of respondents say that the “U.S. has seen or will see the end of its reign as the sole superpower.”
Respondents in only five countries believe that the U.S. will pull through and keep its title as leading superpower.
“While most claim that the U.S. will one day be surpassed, in no country do more than three in 10 say that the U.S. has already been replaced by China. But the trajectory in global public opinion is clear,” the report reads.
The Chinese, of course, are convinced that they will pass the U.S., with 50 percent of respondents saying this will happen and 9 percent saying it has already happened.
Americans, however, are more split on the question: 49 percent of respondents in the U.S. say it will happen and 45 percent say it won't.
Of respondents in the U.S., self-identified Republicans and independents are more likely to believe that the U.S. will be knocked down a peg by China, with 56 percent and 55 percent saying they think this will happen, respectively. Meanwhile, self-identified Democrats are less likely to believe China will rise to the top, with only 43 percent saying they think this is likely.
“In the past six years, there has been a shift toward China as the perceived superpower,” Pew reported. “Across 20 countries surveyed in both 2008 and 2014, a median of 41 percent in 2008 said that China will replace or has already replaced the U.S. as sole superpower, with an almost equal share (39 percent) saying China will never replace the U.S. But in 2014, half say China is or will be the world’s leading power, with just 32 percent saying China will never replace America.”
Here's the full report. There's a lot in it: