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Most Applaud End of TPP, Want Changes in NAFTA

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Most voters welcome President Trump’s decision to scrap the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) mega-trade deal and agree that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Mexico and Canada needs to be reworked.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 56% of Likely U.S. Voters agree with Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the TPP. Just 27% disagree, but 17% are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

In August, only 18% believed the TPP – a trade pact with 11 Pacific Rim nations - would be good for America.

Similarly, 57% of voters now believe NAFTA needs to be renegotiated, up from 50% last summer. Only 25% disagree, with 18% more undecided.

Interestingly, 56% favored renegotiation of NAFTA in June 2008 when Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama was calling for changes in it, while his Republican challenger John McCain was saying the trade pact must be defended “without equivocation in political debate.”

In a reversal of long-standing Republican policy, Trump argues against these trade deals which lower tariffs on certain nations, saying they kill American jobs because U.S. goods cannot compete against those made overseas by workers making significantly less money. Supporters of free trade argue that it makes products cheaper for U.S. consumers.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on January 23-24, 2017 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Americans are now more critical of free trade in general. Just 33% of voters think most free trade deals with other countries have been good for America. Forty-two percent (42%) believe they have been bad for the country instead. Only eight percent (8%) say those deals have had no impact. Sixteen percent (16%) are not sure.

Prior to this, in surveys since 2007, belief among all Americans that free trade is good for the economy ranged from 41% to a high of 48% in September 2012.

Democrats now tend to view trade deals more favorably than Republicans and voters not affiliated with either major party do. But even among Democrats, just 45% believe most of these deals have been good for the United States.

Seventy-four percent (74%) of GOP voters and 57% of unaffiliated voters agree with the decision to pull out of the TPP, a view shared by only 41% of Democrats. Sixty-nine percent (69%) of Republicans and 56% of unaffiliateds say NAFTA needs to be renegotiated, and 48% of Democrats agree.

Among voters who Strongly Approve of the job Trump is doing as president, 69% believe most U.S. free trade agreements have been bad for America. Fifty-five percent (55%) of those who Strongly Disapprove of Trump’s job performance say those agreements have been good for the country.

Fifty-nine percent (59%) of all voters now approve of the job the new president is doing. Forty-one percent (41%) disapprove.

Voters think Trump will do better than former President Obama when it comes to protecting U.S. jobs and creating new ones.

By a 73% to 16% margin, Americans believe it is more important to keep manufacturing jobs in the United States than it is to keep prices low for U.S. consumers.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

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