China is gaining as world's top superpower

China is increasingly viewed as the world's top superpower, but can it fix its image problem?
Written by Tyler Falk, Contributor

Despite having the world's largest economy, the United States is slipping, in the world's eyes, from its place as the world's top superpower.

Taking its place? China.

That's the perception in a new survey from Pew of about 38,000 people in 39 countries. In 23 countries, more than half of the respondents say that China has already replaced or will eventually replace the United States as the world's top superpower. Even in the U.S., 47 percent of people say that China has or will top the U.S. There are only six countries where a majority say China will never replace the U.S.

That shift in thinking has changed dramatically since 2008. Of the 20 countries surveyed in a similar survey in 2008 and this year, 47 percent said the U.S. is the world's leading economic power, compared to 20 percent who said China. This year, the U.S. slipped to 41 percent, while China jumped to 34 percent.

There is some good news, however, for the United States. More than half of the countries polled have a positive view of the United States. In the countries polled in both 2007 and 2013, 19 of those 28 countries have a more positive view of the U.S.

The challenge for China will be gaining the same respect on the global stage. The U.S. still has a better global image than China, with 63 percent expressing a favorable opinion of the U.S. compared with 50 percent for China. And only 36 percent of those polled thought China respects individual rights. For the U.S., that number was 70 percent.

It's worth noting though that polling took place mostly in March and April of this year, before the details of the NSA surveillance program in the U.S. came to light. News of which has not gone over well in Europe“Partners do not spy on each other,” said E.U. Commissioner for Justice Viviane Reding in the Washington Post. “We cannot negotiate over a big transatlantic market if there is the slightest doubt that our partners are carrying out spying activities on the offices of our negotiators.” Will China be able to take advantage of the betrayal felt by U.S. allies?

Dig into the rest of the results here: Pew

Photo: Flickr/Bert van Dijk

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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