Most think social media has made it easier to manipulate and divide people, but they also say it informs and raises awareness.
Results presented in this data essay are drawn from nationally representative surveys conducted over the past 20 years in more than 60 countries.
The Chinese Communist Party is preparing for its 20th National Congress, an event likely to result in an unprecedented third term for President Xi Jinping. Since Xi took office in 2013, opinion of China in the U.S. and other advanced economies has turned more negative. How did it get to be this way?
Despite the many depressing stories dominating the international news cycle, there is also a note of positivity among survey respondents in views of the UN, the benefits of international cooperation for solving problems and the importance of common values for bringing nations together.
A median of 68% across 19 countries think their country has done a good job dealing with the coronavirus outbreak, with majorities saying this in every country surveyed except Japan. However, most also believe the pandemic has created greater divisions in their societies and exposed weaknesses in their political systems – and these view are especially common in the U.S.
Large majorities in most of the 19 countries surveyed have negative views of China, but relatively few say bilateral relations are bad.
Americans see China as a growing superpower – and increasingly say it is the world’s leading economy.
We asked respondents in both countries to, in their own words, define what democracy means to them. Most commonly, people mention three broad concepts: freedom and human rights, elections and procedures, and having a voice in government.
As democratic nations have wrestled with economic, social and geopolitical upheaval in recent years, the future of liberal democracy has come into question. Our international surveys reveal key insights into how citizens think about democratic governance.
Germans and Americans have both become more skeptical of China.
Nearly 19,000 adults in publics ranging from the UK, Italy, Greece, Japan, South Korea, Germany, and the U.S., among others, share where they find meaning in their lives and what keeps them going.
Family is preeminent for most publics but work, material well-being and health also play a key role.
The U.S. is seen positively in advanced economies for its technology, entertainment, military and universities, but negatively for its health care system, discrimination and the state of its democracy.
Dissatisfaction with the functioning of democracy is linked to concerns about the economy, the pandemic and social divisions.
Wide majorities in most of the 17 advanced economies surveyed say having people of many different backgrounds improves their society, but most also see conflicts between partisan, racial and ethnic groups.
In Response to Climate Change, Citizens in Advanced Economies Are Willing To Alter How They Live and Work
Citizens offer mixed reviews of how their societies have responded to climate change, and many question the efficacy of international efforts to stave off a global environmental crisis.
Despite an uptick in positive views of the economy in some places, many say that children will be worse off financially than their parents.
Unfavorable views of China also hover near historic highs in most of the 17 advanced economies surveyed.
We asked Americans: “What’s the first thing you think about when you think about China?” Here's how they answered.
Publics disagree about whether restrictions on public activity, such as stay-at-home orders or mandates to wear masks in public, have gone far enough to combat COVID-19.
A median of 45% across 34 surveyed countries say it is necessary to believe in God to be moral and have good values. However, public opinion on this question, as well as the role of God, prayer and religion varies by country, region and economic development.
U.S. adults give high marks to South Korea and Germany’s pandemic responses. In contrast, most believe China has done an only fair or poor job.
There is widespread support in Taiwan for increased economic and political ties with the U.S. While many are wary of stronger political ties with mainland China, about half would favor stronger economic relations.
Republicans are more negative than Democrats toward China, though unfavorable ratings have climbed among both parties.
Americans See Spread of Disease as Top International Threat, Along With Terrorism, Nuclear Weapons, Cyberattacks
Most say cooperation with other countries is important in dealing with global threats, especially on the spread of infectious diseases.
Political divides on both sides of the Atlantic continue to shape attitudes about relations with other nations, perceptions about defense spending and Americans’ and Germans’ views of each other.
Majorities say the democratic principles tested on our survey are at least somewhat important. But often, underwhelming percentages describe democratic rights and institutions as very important.
President Trump and his policies continue to receive negative reviews from people worldwide, with a lack of confidence in his leadership especially common in Western Europe. While views of the U.S. are positive overall, they vary widely among some of its key allies.
More countries still name the U.S. as the foremost economic power than say the same of China. And, even in nations that welcome China’s economic growth, few feel similarly about its growing military might.
Unfavorable opinion of China in the U.S. is at its highest level in 14 years of polling. Americans also increasingly see China as a threat, and more than half see friction in the current bilateral economic relationship.