Poll shows recalls of Chinese goods spark little change in consumer behavior

NEW YORK Despite the recent furor over the quality of Chinese goods being imported into the U.S., sometimes even resulting in recalls, it has not greatly affected the buying behavior of the American public, a New York Times/CBS News poll discovered.

The poll, conducted Oct. 12-16, found that while 71 percent of the 1,282 respondents claimed to be aware of the country of origin of a product, nearly as many—65 percent—had not stopped buying Chinese goods. Of the rest, 14 percent claimed to have stopped buying Chinese goods because of the recent recalls and 9 percent claimed that they simply did not buy goods from China.

In addition, 35 percent said they felt that products imported from China were more dangerous than those from other countries. However, 20 percent more of the respondents (and the majority at 55 percent) felt that Chinese products only seemed more dangerous because of the recent news.

Even more telling, in comparison with a Gallup/CNN/USA Today poll from 1996, the percentages who rated Chinese goods on a scale from “Excellent” to “Poor” remained within the current poll’s margin of error of 3 points. The percent who responded “Only Fair” did not change at all from 11 years ago. The percent who rated the goods “Poor” in 2007 increased by 3 percent, but that was balanced by the combined increase of 3 percent on the side of “Excellent” and “Very Good.”

Full results and the poll’s methodology are available at nytimes.com/polls.

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