4 out of 5 Americans Say Trade with China & NAFTA Deals Hurt America

Curtis Ellis

A new national poll shows an overwhelming majority of voters oppose a key component of President Obama’s jobs plan and believe it will actually cost jobs. The President is calling for passage of trade deals with Panama, Colombia and Korea.

A poll of likely voters by the American Jobs Alliance finds 80% of voters believe trade deals cost jobs. Voters oppose the Korea free trade agreement by more than 2 to 1.
The poll reveals a disconnect between Washington and the voters. The White House and Congressional leaders in both parties are pushing the trade deals despite widespread voter opposition.
The American Jobs Alliance released the survey as it launches a campaign that includes radio, print and online ads targeting members of Congress.
The survey found opposition to trade deals cuts across party lines and is strongest among Tea Party voters. Fully 90% of Tea Party supporters say trade with China and trade deals like NAFTA have cost jobs in the U.S., and 67% oppose the Korea trade agreement. Opponents outnumber supporters among all parties and independents.
Voting for the Korean free trade agreement would be costly to incumbents. By a margin of 53% to 12%, respondents would be more likely to vote against a Congressman who supported the trade deal.
The 80% of the public that has a negative view of trade deals is nearly identical to Congress’ 82% disapproval rating seen in the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll conducted by Peter Hart and Bill McInturff last month.
The findings in today’s poll are in line with other recent surveys.
A nationwide poll conducted by the Mellman Group and Ayres, McHenry & Associates in June found 64% of Tea Party supporters and 59% of all voters favor getting tough with China on trade. The survey also shows 80% of voters favor Buy American policies, particularly when taxpayer dollars are being spent.
Report highlights:
80% of respondents believe that NAFTA has cost American jobs. The sentiment is pervasive across age, gender and ethnicity demographics and partisan orientation. In fact, Republicans and Tea Party supporters are even more skeptical of NAFTA than Democrats.
Opposition to the Korean Free Trade Agreement is more than 2:1. Voters under the age of 30 are about evenly split but other age groups show strong opposition to the proposed agreement. In general, women are more opposed than men to this proposal. Again, Republicans, Tea Party supporters and Independents are more opposed than Democrats.
Voting for the Korean Free Trade Agreement Would Be Costly to Incumbents. By a margin of 53% to 12%, respondents would be more likely to vote against a Congressman who supported the trade agreement.
The American Jobs Alliance poll surveyed 1,000 likely voters who participated in the 2008 and 2010 elections. See more on the poll and results here.