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Global Public Believes China Will Replace U.S. As Top Power

A new report on global views of the U.S. and China showed a belief that the economic balance of power is shifting, with China on the rise and America in relative decline.

The Pew Research Center survey, conducted in 44 countries with 48,643 respondents earlier this year, found that even though most still consider the U.S. the world's "top economic power," 50% of those surveyed see China eventually supplanting America, up from 41% last year.

A smaller, 2008 survey among fewer nations found that 49% named the U.S. as the leading economic power. Today, that percentage fell to 40%. During the same period, those naming China as the top power rose from 19% to 31%.

Even though a majority of respondents opposed American eavesdropping and drone strikes in foreign countries, a median of 65% still expressed a positive opinion about America. By contrast, a median of 49% of the global public hold a positive view of China.

Among China's neighbors, anxiety over recent territorial disputes fueled negative perceptions. In all 11 Asian nations polled, "roughly half or more say they are concerned that territorial disputes between China and its neighbors will lead to a military conflict."

With the exceptions of China, Malaysia, and Pakistan, every Asian nation surveyed considered America its top ally.

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