Updated on Aug 28, 2023
Updates quarterly

U.S.-China Relations Barometer

Key metrics on the current state of bilateral affairs
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Data reflects aggregate shares indicating whether respondents view the specified country somewhat/very favorably or somewhat/very unfavorably.

Against the backdrop of a multiyear trade war, heightened screening of cross-border investments, and persistent tensions over the South China Sea and Taiwan, Morning Consult’s U.S.-China Relations Barometer provides data-driven insights into public perceptions of bilateral relations between the two superpowers, as well as the risks and opportunities that lie ahead for companies and investors. The barometer tracks American and Chinese sentiment on bilateral relations across a variety of domains, including each country’s views of the other, whether they are locked in a cold war, and the likelihood of future military and economic tensions.

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Key Takeaways

  • The situation at present: Though U.S. hostility toward China spiked after “balloongate” in late January 2023, public rancor over the issue appears to be fading. The share of U.S. adults holding unfavorable views of China has declined since April and is now just below pre-balloongate levels. Chinese favorability toward the United States has also rebounded, with shares holding positive views increasing roughly 5 percentage points since July. U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s visit to Beijing that month — which was well received by the Chinese public — likely played a contributing role.


    China’s struggling economy may also be tempering nationalist sentiment and outward animosity, with unfavorability toward the United States falling roughly 11 points since China’s reopening in January. The shares of U.S. and Chinese adults who view the other side as an enemy or unfriendly similarly declined by roughly 14 and 9 points since March, respectively, suggesting additional factors are also at play. These trends bode well for U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo’s visit to Beijing in late August.


  • H2 2023 outlook: Public views appear to be softening somewhat despite the official rancor, but our expectations are tempered. Majorities of U.S. and Chinese adults expect bilateral military and economic tensions to escalate in the coming year. As such, de-risking supply chains continues to be a prudent course for companies heavily invested in China. That said, the Chinese public remains eager for foreign investment as Beijing’s anticipated economic recovery falters. Those willing to brave the tricky business environment and whose investments create jobs — particularly for younger adults — could reap reputational rewards amid China’s woeful employment landscape.

Allies or Enemies?

Shares of adults in China and the United States who said the other country is an enemy/unfriendly or an ally/friendly
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Cold War 2.0, or Something Less?

Shares of adults in China and the United States who said the two countries are in a cold war, or just in competition
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Projecting a Winner in a War of Attrition

U.S. and Chinese adults on which side would win if the two countries entered into a new cold war
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Perceived Likelihood of Escalating Military Tensions

U.S. and Chinese adults on the likelihood of bilateral military tensions increasing over the next 12 months
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Perceived Likelihood of Escalating Economic Tensions

U.S. and Chinese adults on the likelihood of bilateral economic tensions increasing over the next 12 months
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Source of This Data


The U.S.-China Relations Barometer relies on data collected through Morning Consult’s proprietary survey research capabilities. Interviews are conducted online, and data are weighted to approximate representative samples of U.S. and Chinese adults. The U.S. data is weighted based on age, gender, educational attainment, race and region. The China data is weighted based on age, gender, educational attainment and region.

The United States and China country favorability data series are seven-day moving averages of daily data derived from surveys conducted among roughly 11,450 to 27,000 U.S. adults and 670 to 3,400 Chinese adults, with data reported on the first and 15th of each month. The underlying data series for the United States and China have unweighted margins of error of up to 1 percentage point and up to 4 percentage points, respectively. Morning Consult updated its weights for U.S. adults on April 1, 2022, and Jan. 1, 2023, and updated its weights for Chinese adults on Jan. 1, 2023.

All other data series reported in the barometer derive from monthly surveys conducted Feb. 11, 2022-Aug. 4, 2023, in the United States and Feb. 11, 2022-Aug. 7, 2023, in China, among representative samples of approximately 1,000 adults in each country, with unweighted margins of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

About Morning Consult

Morning Consult is a global decision intelligence company changing how modern leaders make smarter, faster, better decisions. The company pairs its proprietary high-frequency data with applied artificial intelligence to better inform decisions on what people think and how they will act. Learn more at morningconsult.com.

Jason McMann
Head of Political Analysis

Jason I. McMann leads geopolitical risk analysis at Morning Consult. He leverages the company’s high-frequency survey data to advise clients on how to integrate geopolitical risk into their decision-making. Jason previously served as head of analytics at GeoQuant (now part of Fitch Solutions). He holds a Ph.D. from Princeton University’s Politics Department. Follow him on Twitter @jimcmann. Interested in connecting with Jason to discuss his analysis or for a media engagement or speaking opportunity? Email [email protected].

Scott Moskowitz
Senior Analyst, APAC

Scott Moskowitz is senior analyst for the Asia-Pacific region at Morning Consult, where he leads geopolitical analysis of China and broader regional issues. Scott holds a Ph.D. in sociology from Princeton University and has years of experience working in and conducting Mandarin-language research on China, with an emphasis on the politics of economic development and consumerism. Follow him on Twitter @ScottyMoskowitz. Interested in connecting with Scott to discuss his analysis or for a media engagement or speaking opportunity? Email [email protected].