Poll: Americans Report Bipartisan Distrust of Chinese Gov’t, Support for Tariffs

A woman walks past a portrait of Chinese President Xi Jinping as the country is hit by the coronavirus, Shanghai, China, March 12, 2020. (Aly Song/Reuters)

Americans reported bipartisan distrust of the Chinese government’s public statements about the coronavirus pandemic as well as support for reinstating tariffs on Chinese goods in certain circumstances, according to a new Harris poll.

Ninety percent of Republican respondents said that China was to blame for the spread of the coronavirus, and 67 percent of Democrats concurred.

A majority of Republicans (66 percent) said President Trump should take a harder line against China, with 25 percent saying Trump’s policies regarding China should remain as they are. Meanwhile, 38 percent of Democrats supported a tougher stance against China, with another 38 percent saying Trump’s current stance was sufficient.

In addition, 84 percent of Republicans and 64 percent of Democrats believe Trump should reimpose tariffs on Chinese goods if China fails to buy $250 million in American goods, as required by a trade agreement between the two countries.

“It’s as much of a consensus issue as you can get in today’s divided world,” Harris Poll chairman Mark Penn told the Washington Post. “Overall, there’s very little trust for anything that the Chinese government says or does, especially its premier. Xi Jinping has less than half the credibility of President Trump in this poll.”

China has been accused by U.S. politicians of covering up the full extent of the coronavirus outbreak, and one study has suggested Beijing could have prevented the pandemic if it had contained the first outbreak in Wuhan. The coronavirus has infected over 1,400,000 people worldwide and claimed over 81,000 lives as of Wednesday.

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.


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