More U.S. voters see China as an “enemy” than as a friend or ally amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new Politico/Morning Consult poll.
The data shows that the percentage of U.S. voters who see China as hostile has risen 11 percentage points since January to 31 percent, while the number of respondents who view China as a friend or an ally has fallen by nine points in the same timeframe to a combined 23 percent. Those who view China as unfriendly but not an enemy remains at around 30 percent — a number that has stayed constant over the past five months.
Ahead of the November presidential election, the poll found that President Trump and former vice president Biden are essentially tied with voters on the China issue, with 40 percent trusting Biden more, 38 percent favoring Trump, and 21 percent undecided. While both candidates have fielded dueling ads over who has been tougher on the Chinese Communist Party, voters prefer working with China to solve the pandemic over holding China accountable at the expense of cooperation by a 28 point margin — 50 to 38 percent.
While the majority of respondents view both Biden and Trump unfavorably, Trump is underwater by 14 points compared to Biden’s four points. Voters also trust Biden more than Trump in handling the pandemic, while the president is viewed more favorably in restarting the economy.
China hawkishness has been on the rise since the pandemic began, with Pew Research Center finding in a poll last month that Americans who view China unfavorably outnumber those who view China favorably by more than a 2-to-1 margin, 66 to 26 percent.