The majority of Americans think the United States is No.2 in the world behind China and is likely to stay that way, a poll has revealed.
Just one in five Americans said they have the strongest economy, compared to nearly half who chose Beijing’s.
Asked which nation will have the be in the strongest economic position in 20 years, 34% picked the United States, compared with 37% who chose China and 6% who named Japan.
The gloomy findings come as the U.S. struggles with a record debt and a weakened president who is still recovering from the ‘shellacking’ he received during the mid-term elections.
On the diplomatic stage Barack Obama has come off second best in the ‘currency wars’, with the Chinese openly condemning him for pumping trillions into the U.S. economy and lowering the value of the dollar.
Beijing has also amassed an enormous surplus in its international accounts while accumulating huge amounts of U.S. government debt, putting it in a position to call the shots on world affairs.
The poll by U.S. magazine The National Journal of 1,200 people found the traditional American optimism clouded by uncertainty and anxiety over the future.
Some two thirds of those surveyed said they do not expect the U.S. to return to the position it enjoyed last century any time soon.
A huge 58% said they agreed it is ‘inevitable that Americans’ incomes will grow more slowly’ in coming years because of competition from lower-paid workers around the world.
In addition, only one in four believe their children will have better opportunities than themselves.
A major part of the uneasiness was the shift away from manufacturing to a service industry.
When asked if the nation should allow that trend to continue without taking steps to reverse it, just one-third said yes; three-fifths said they wanted action.
The National Journal said that housewife Dana Rigby, from Kirksville, Montana, was typical of those who responded to the survey.
‘I’m trying to get my kids on the right path; who doesn’t want that?
But I don’t know if there’s going to be enough out there for all the young kids to have good jobs,’ she said.