Leave EU and face decline, say Chinese

William JordanUS Elections Editor
February 05, 2014, 3:50 PM GMT+0

The majority of China's online population think the UK’s influence in the world would decline if it left the EU, but Americans are more divided on the question

Recent polls conducted in China and the United States – homes to the two largest economies in the world – gave people a chance to weigh in on the United Kingdom's relationship with the European Union. YouGov found very different results in either country: while the majority of internet users in China think the UK would lose influence if it left the union and view the EU itself positively, opinions in the United States are split, with a sizable proportion who don't know what they think about the EU.

UK Influence

Of China's online population, nearly seven in 10 (68%) think that Britain’s influence on the world stage would decline if it left the European Union. Just 15% say it wouldn’t make any difference, and only 5% say Britain would be more influential if it left the EU.

But on this question Americans are divided evenly between those who believe Britain's influence would decline (19%), that it would make no difference (18%) or that Britain's influence would increase (21%). Another 42% say they don't know.

Is the EU a good thing?

And while the survey shows Chinese views towards the EU to be generally quite positive, Americans are ambivalent.

A majority (56%) of Chinese internet users agree with the statement: “It is a good thing that countries in Europe have decided to come together into one entity, and they are stronger for it”, while just over a quarter (28%) of respondents say that the EU is “a good idea, but doesn’t seem to be working well and may not hold together.” Only 8% say it is “a bad idea, because the different member states are too different to be part of the same union”.

In the United States, only 21% agree with the first, most pro-EU statement, and another 29% agree with the more equivocal one. However, only 16% of Americans think the EU is a 'bad thing' and a third say they simply don't know.

The European Union is currently in talks with the United States agree on a new trade and investment deal, which, if approved, could be 'the biggest bilateral trade deal in history'. On its own, the United Kindom is already the United States' sixth largest trading partner, but the EU is the country's largest if taken as a single entity. Meanwhile the European Union counts the United States and China as its first and second-largest trading parters, respectively.

See the full China poll results

See the full US poll results

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