Russia is no longer the No. 1 geopolitical bogeyman in the eyes of Americans, falling from that spot for the first time in three years, as a new Gallup poll shows people are far more concerned about the threat posed by China.
A record-high 45% of Americans said they consider China to be the greatest enemy of the US, up from just 22% a year ago, according to a Gallup poll released on Tuesday. The poll is taken each year in February. Russia slid to No. 2 on the list from the top spot, but was still picked by 26% of respondents, up from 23% in 2020.
The shift comes at a time when former president Donald Trump has left office, but the mainstream media is still attacking him with Russia-based conspiracy theories, while blaming Moscow for sowing discord in the minds of gullible Americans.
Prior to Trump’s election, Russia was ranked as the biggest threat only once this century, in 2015. China, on the other hand, returned to the top ranking of foes for the first time since 2014, perhaps at least partly because the Covid-19 pandemic allegedly originated there.
Half of Americans also believe that China has overtaken the US as the world’s leading economic power. The US was seen as the top economic power by just 37% of respondents. Those numbers were approximately reversed a year earlier, at 50%-39% in favor of the home team.
China’s economic prowess was seen as a “critical threat” to US interests in the next 10 years by a record 63% of Americans, up from 46% last year.
The ranking of enemies became much more consolidated in 2021. North Korea, which was seen as America’s biggest enemy by a whopping 51% of respondents in 2018 and by 12% last year, dropped to 9% last month. Iran tumbled to 4% from 19% in 2020, and Iraq dropped to 2% from 7%. No other threat, including the US itself, exceeded 1% this year.
Iran’s low rating suggests that it wouldn’t likely be easy to get Americans behind any potential military action against the Persian Gulf nation. Iran was ranked as America’s No. 1 enemy in the Gallup polls five times in the seven years from 2006 through 2012.
In the meantime, Trump haters and career Russiagaters haven’t let go of their anti-Russia sentiment. Some 47% of Democrats still see Russia as America’s greatest enemy, compared with just 6% of Republicans. The divide was similar in relation to China, which was seen as enemy No. 1 by 76% of Republicans and 22% of Democrats.
The latest poll results are in line with other recent reports on shifting American views on China. A Pew Research Center poll released earlier this month showed that nine out of 10 Americans view China as a competitor or enemy, and nearly half said the US should seek to limit China’s power. Gallup found that a record-high 79% of Americans have an unfavorable view of China.
Americans’ confidence in US military decisions fell to 56% from 70% between 2018 and this year, according to polling by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation. About 20% of respondents in the same poll said they view Russia as an “ally,” while 16% saw it as the No. 1 enemy (down from 30% in 2018). China ranked well ahead of Russia on the Reagan poll’s foes list, at 37%.
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