New Poll Reveals Americans Are Tepid On Trade - Global Trade Magazine
  April 30th, 2016 | Written by

New Poll Reveals Americans Are Tepid On Trade

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  • International trade remains relatively unknown to a significant number of Americans.
  • In survey, 29 percent of registered voters oppose TPP, and 26 percent support the deal.
  • Thirty-one percent of voters who supported Obama in 2012 support TPP; 25 percent oppose the deal.
  • 39% of US voters said trade with Canada has helped the US vs. 29% for the EU, 28% for Japan and Germany, 17% for China.

A newly-released Morning Consult poll of more than 10,000 respondents reveals where Americans stand on the country’s biggest trade policy issues. Overall, the topic still remains relatively unknown to a significant number of Americans, despite its recent popularity as a national campaign talking point. Still, many respondents are concerned about how free trade, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and the North American Free Trade Agreement will affect American jobs, their pocketbooks, and the overall economy.

Of the over 10,000 registered voters who responded to the Morning Consult survey, 29 percent oppose TPP, and 26 percent support the deal. Forty-five percent either didn’t have an opinion or didn’t know.

White-collar workers are eight percentage points more likely to support TPP than blue-collar workers, while blue-collar workers are five percentage points more likely to oppose than white-collar workers.

The poll indicates a shifting landscape in public support for U.S. trade policy, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Of the surveyed Republican voters, 34 percent oppose TPP compared to 24 percent who support it. Just over a third of surveyed Democrats, despite their party’s general skepticism of free trade policy, support the agreement compared to 23 percent who oppose it.

Conversely, the data suggests that the Obama administration’s efforts to sell TPP is paying dividends with voters who supported him, even if it isn’t working with the members of Congress who he needs to persuade to vote in favor of the deal. Thirty-one percent of voters who chose Obama in 2012 support the deal, compared to 25 percent who oppose it.

Americans seem cautious about free trade when it comes to the American economy. Sixty-three percent said free trade would take away U.S. jobs, while 33 percent said that they would create jobs for Americans in the U.S. Half said free trade is likely to weaken the U.S. economy, 30 percent said unlikely, and 20 percent didn’t know.

Over half, 52 percent, say free trade will increase wages for the upper class, while 24 percent said it would not. Similarly, 53 percent said it would decrease wages for the middle class.

Nearly half of all Republicans said that free trade between the U.S. and foreign countries has hurt the U.S., compared to 33 percent of Democrats.

Canada emerged with the most positive view as a trading partner. Thirty-nine percent said trade with Canada has helped the U.S., compared to 29 percent for the European Union, 28 percent for Japan, 28 percent for Germany, 19 percent for Mexico, 17 percent for China, and 17 percent for India.

The current state of trade politics reflects a radical shift that’s become apparent with Donald Trump’s rise in the GOP presidential primary. Trump has assailed the current U.S. trade model and blasted existing deals with major trading partners such as Mexico and China. That’s rubbed off on voters. A 52-percent majority of all surveyed registered voters believe trade with China has hurt the U.S., and 41 percent—including half of surveyed Republicans—believe the U.S.-Mexico trade relationship has hurt the U.S.