Comparative European Politics

, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 577–603 | Cite as

Yin and yank? Public opinion in Europe toward the U.S. and China

  • Soo Yeon Kim
  • Sophie Meunier
  • Zsolt Nyiri
Original Article


Perceptions of the United States in European public opinion greatly improved around 2008, while perceptions of China simultaneously deteriorated. The Transatlantic and Sino-European relationships stem from radically different historical contexts. Yet could the image of China and the image of the U.S. be related in the eyes of Europeans? This paper examines whether attitudes toward China have contributed to determining attitudes toward the U.S. in Europe by analyzing data from the Transatlantic Trends survey taken in 2010, a critical juncture in Europe’s relations with both the U.S. and China. We investigate three hypotheses about this relation: the “yin and yank” or negative correlation (the more Europeans fear China, the more positive they become about the U.S.; the more favorably Europeans view China, the more negatively they see the U.S.); the “open vs. closed” or positive correlation (the more favorably Europeans see China, the more favorably they see the U.S.; the more negatively they see China, the more negatively they see the U.S.); and no relation (European attitudes toward China and the U.S. are independent). To the question of whether anti-Chinese sentiment has the potential for replacing anti-Americanism in Europe, our main conclusion is that positively correlated attitudes toward the U.S. and China reveal a deep cleavage in Europe between those who are “in” and those who are “out” of globalization.


anti-Americanism China Europe globalization public opinion United States 


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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.Princeton UniversityPrincetonUSA
  3. 3.Montclair State UniversityMontclairUSA

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