Most Americans aren’t too bullish anymore on the notion that the United States is the world’s leading economy.
The exception, according to a new Gallup Poll, are Americans 65 and older.
For the third year in a row, a slim majority of Americans – 53 percent – say that China is the world’s top economic power in the world today, compared with just 32 percent for the United States. (Relatively few respondents in the poll named other countries.)
Americans under the age of 50 identify China as the world’s economic powerhouse by roughly 3-to-1 margins. The following Gallup chart shows just how striking the generational divide on the issue is:
Americans 65 and older have pretty consistently rated the United States as the world’s top economic power, even as Americans’ views overall have shifted dramatically. (In 2000, for example, only 10 percent of all Americans put China in the No. 1 spot.) The only exception was in 2011, when they tilted to naming China as the world’s leading economic power over the United States, 47 to 41 percent.
Interestingly, they’re also the age group most likely to see foreign trade as “an opportunity for economic growth through increased U.S. exports” and the least likely to see it as “a threat to the economy from foreign imports,” according to Gallup. That’s a complete turnaround from just one year ago.