America or China? The World Has Already Decided Who’s No. 1

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Members of the Chinese military applaud after Chinese President Hu Jintao inside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing as part of celebrations for the Chinese Communist Party's 90th anniversary on July 1, 2011. Photo: Peter Parks - AFP - Getty Images)

Who’s the world’s new superpower? China, according to a poll by Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project, which surveyed more than 27,000 people globally:

In 15 of 22 nations, the balance of opinion is that China either will replace or already has replaced the U.S. as the world’s leading superpower…This especially is the case in Western Europe, where at least six-in-ten in France, Spain, Britain and Germany see China overtaking the U.S. This view has increased substantially over the past two years, including by 10 or more percentage points in Spain, France, Pakistan, Britain, Jordan, Israel, Poland and Germany. Among Americans, the percentage who say that China will eventually overshadow the U.S. has increased from 33% in 2009 to 46% in 2011.

But not everyone’s buying the China No. 1 narrative, particularly the Chinese themselves:

Majorities or pluralities in Eastern Europe, Asia and Latin America still name the U.S. as the world’s dominant economic power. Notably, by an almost 2-to-1 margin, the Chinese still believe the U.S. is the world’s leading economic power…Global opinion is consistently negative when it comes to the prospect of China equaling the U.S. militarily. Besides the Chinese themselves, only a handful of publics see an upside to China matching the U.S. in military power.