Nearly half of respondents, 47 percent, picked China as the world's economic leader, and 11 percent chose Japan, reports National Journal.
Looking into the future, Americans were slightly more optimistic, but they still picked China over the United States by 37 percent to 34 percent when asked which country they expect to have the strongest economy in 20 years.
In some ways, the poll's respondents are off-base. U.S. gross domestic product remains more than 2.5 times that of China. But the gap is narrowing, which may be what's behind Americans' pessimistic outlook. And the current economic doldrums certainly aren't doing anything to boost confidence.
Other results reflecting views of the long-term U.S. economic situation were no more encouraging. Fifty-eight percent agreed that "it is inevitable that Americans' incomes will grow more slowly" in the future than in the past "because American workers are now competing with millions of lower-paid workers around the world."
And only 25 percent said they believed that today's children will have more opportunity to get ahead than the respondents themselves had when they were young.
Perhaps these gloomy views stem from a lack of confidence in the U.S. education system. Fifty-three percent said America trails its major competitors in the quality of elementary and secondary education.
The Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor poll was conducted by FD, a communications strategy consulting firm. It surveyed 1,200 adults, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points.
- margin of error
- new National Journal