However, those interviewed by Pew said they didn't think China's increasing power led to more positive ratings for the country, results released Thursday indicated.
The United States has a stronger global image than China, with a median average of 63 percent of those interviews worldwide expressing a favorable opinion of the United States, compared with 50 percent for China, Pew said.
However, even in many countries where America is still seen as the top economic power, most believe China someday will be the leading overall superpower, Pew said. In 23 of 39 nations, majorities or pluralities say they thought China either already replaced or eventually will replace the United States as the top superpower. Majorities or pluralities in only six countries said they believe China will never replace the United States.
Globally, people said they were more likely to consider the United States a partner to their country rather than China, although relatively few said they thought of either nation as an enemy, results indicated.
Respondents said the military strength of both nations caused concern, Pew said. China's growing military strength is viewed with concern in Japan, South Korea, Australia and the Philippines. The Obama administration's use of drone strikes faces broad opposition, with more than half of respondents in 31 of 39 countries expressing disapproval of the attacks.
The Pew Research Center surveyed 37,653 people in 39 countries among 37,653 respondents March 2-May 1.