U.S. Image as World’s Economic Leader on the Rebound: Survey

A new international survey released by Pew Research Center this week shows that overall views of the U.S. (59%) and President Joe Biden (54%) are favourable, including in the five Asia Pacific countries captured in the 23-nation survey. The public opinion poll also revealed that the U.S.’ reputation has rebounded somewhat as the world’s leading economic power, with only six of the 23 putting China in the lead. The survey was conducted from February to May 2023.  

Asia Pacific views of U.S. positive but complicated

In the Asia Pacific, favourability toward the U.S. was highest in South Korea (79%), followed by Japan (73%), India (65%), Indonesia (56%), and Australia (52%). In all countries surveyed, younger citizens – those aged 18-39 – were more positive toward the U.S. than those 40 and older, sometimes by sizable margins. But, as the survey report notes, views on the U.S.’ role in the world are complex; a strong majority (median of 82% across the survey) feels that the U.S. interferes too much in other countries’ affairs, but also that it contributes overall to international peace and stability.

U.S. vs. China

Respondents were also asked to identify which country they saw as the world’s leading economic power. Among the Asia Pacific participants, South Koreans (83%), the Japanese (64%), and Indians (53%) named the U.S. Interestingly, Indians saw Japan and China as roughly on par (13% vs. 14%). Indonesia was also notable – 35 per cent chose the U.S., 20 per cent chose Japan, and 16 per cent chose China. Australia was a bit of an outlier, with 50 per cent naming China and only 39 the U.S.

The results in Europe were very mixed. Three countries (Poland, Hungary, and Sweden) identified the U.S. as leading economically, whereas five (Spain, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, and Germany) identified China. France and the UK were evenly divided between the two superpowers. The six African and South American publics also gave the U.S. an edge over China, albeit with somewhat modest margins.