A majority now believe China poses the biggest threat to the United States, while confidence in the U.S. military has simultaneously dropped.
Less than half of the roughly 2,500 people who participated in the fourth annual Ronald Reagan Foundation and Institute survey, which was released on Wednesday, said they have “a great deal” of confidence in the military.
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Specifically, 45% of respondents said they felt that way, but this represents a significant decline compared to the 70% of people who answered that way in the same survey in November 2018.
Those who said they have little or not much confidence in the military pointed to a number of reasons they felt that way, though there was no clear front-runner. Of this group, 13% cited political leadership, 9% cited service members and anything related to scandals in the military, and at 8% was military leadership and the belief that the military is both too expensive and has the wrong priorities.
The military’s declining favorability was also demonstrated by those who no longer believe the U.S. military is the “best in the world.”
Forty-five percent of survey respondents said they believe the U.S. military to be “one of the best,” while 43% said it should be considered the “best.”
While confidence in the military is declining, according to the results of the survey, respondents are now showing a greater concern for the threat China could pose to the U.S. Fifty-two percent of people surveyed listed China as the greatest threat to the U.S., while 14% said Russia, which was second. Three years earlier, 30% said Russia compared to 21% who said China.
Additionally, 65% consider China an enemy, which marks a 10-point increase over the last three years, while only 23% said they consider China an ally.
The survey also asked respondents about their views on Taiwan, the island nation off the coast of China, which has claimed its independence despite China believing the island to be its own territory.
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Forty percent of respondents said they would support the U.S. committing ground troops if China invaded Taiwan, while 35% said they would oppose such a move. The percentage of support remains nearly identical to what it was in Oct. 2019, while the opposition dropped 10 percentage points this time around.
Additionally, 71% said they would support recognizing Taiwan’s independence and ending the policy of “strategic ambiguity,” while 10% said the U.S. shouldn’t do it even if the Chinese invade.