Many Americans regard communism in Latin America as a growing threat to U.S. security, but most view communism elsewhere with far less suspicion, a Media General-Associated Press poll has found.

Communists on Monday marked May Day, the international workers' holiday, with parades and other shows of solidarity. But respondents to the national poll said by nearly a 3-1 margin that capitalism holds more sway in the world than communism.Overwhelming majorities viewed communist nations as loosening social restrictions and eschewing Soviet direction. And many saw communist countries as retreating from their government-controlled economic systems.

Even with the perceptions that communism is changing, however, the poll did not find a sense that communism is fading. Just two in 10 said it is declining around the world.

By contrast, among those with an opinion, 27 percent said communism was on the rise and 46 percent said it was holding steady. The poll of 1,108 adults March 6-15 had a 3-point margin of error.

Respondents said by a narrow margin - 49 percent to 41 percent, with the rest unsure - that closer relations between the Soviet Union and China posed a threat to the United States.

Only with respect to Latin America did a sizable group, 44 percent, say communism is becoming more of a threat to the security of the United States. Marxists rule in Nicaragua; communists rule in Cuba and are waging insurgencies in Colombia, El Salvador, Peru and other Latin American countries.