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If perception is reality, then China is the world's new No. 1 economic superpower. (Of course, if reality is reality, then that title still belongs to the United States.)
A new global survey from Pew found that for the first time China has surpassed the United States as the world's economic engine in the eyes of the global public.
The poll, which questioned respondents in 21 different nations, found that 41 percent named China as the world's leading economic superpower to 40 percent who selected the United States. That gap was even wider, 42 percent to 36 percent, among a 14-country subset that was asked the same question in 2008. Back then, those countries went with the United States by a 45-22 margin.
While the new global perception of China's economic dominance may not be completely accurate, the Associated Press explains that the findings "highlight China’s steadily rising public image amid rapid growth, as well as the erosion of the United States’ status as the global superpower, especially after the 2008 financial crisis left it struggling with recession and high unemployment."
The same survey found an international slippage of Obama's reputation abroad, with a general sense that the president has not lived up to the lofty expectations set by his 2008 campaign. As CNN explains, the two changes of opinion can go hand-in-hand, with opinions of the president shaping perception of America overall, including that of its economic prowess. But Pew notes that attitudes towards the U.S. are still generally more positive under Obama than under George W. Bush, especially among Europeans, where approval has jumped at least 20 percentage points since 2008.
One big point of contention between Americans surveyed and the rest of the world was on drone strikes against extremists in Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia, and other countries. While a majority of Americans approve of the controversial practice (62 percent, including majorities among Republicans, independents, and Democrats), majorities in 17 of 20 countries disapproved.
Read the full survey results here.