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June 20, 2008

Poll roundup: Americans want to renegotiate NAFTA

A new Rasmussen Reports telephone poll indicates that over half - 56 percent - of Americans think NAFTA should be renegotiated. The juicy bits include:

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey taken Monday night finds that 56% of voters support renegotiation while 39% say U.S. free trade agreements in general have directly impacted their families. Of that latter group, 73% say the impact has been a bad one, as opposed to 14% who say it was beneficial.

Only 16% of respondents favor NAFTA - a pact which came into being in 1994 and lowers nearly all trade barriers between the U.S., Canada and Mexico -- as is, with 28% undecided... Perhaps most importantly, 71% say negotiation of trade agreements is important to them in terms of how they will vote. Only 20% say it is not important.

(We've been talking about that last point for a while now...)

This comes a few weeks after a Pew Research Center poll showing that 48 percent of Americans, including 42 percent of Republicans and 52 percent of Independents, believe "free trade agreements—like NAFTA, and the policies of the World Trade Organization" have been "a bad thing" for the United States, while only 35 percent said they have been a good thing. This is a dramatic reversal from a 2004 poll in which Americans believed that these trade agreements have been a good thing, by a 47-34 margin.

The same Pew poll also shows that 61 percent of Americans believe free trade costs U.S. jobs, and 56 percent believe it lowers wages. Only 9 percent believe free trade creates U.S. jobs, and only 8 percent believe it raises wages – results which are consistent across party affiliation lines.

And, just for fun, if you care to take at face value the ABC News/Facebook poll (to be clear... I wouldn't), 79 percent of Americans think the U.S. should renegotiate NAFTA or withdraw from it entirely.

A few more polling tidbits after the jump...

  • The Rasmussen Reports poll linked to above shows that nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of Americans believe that a free trade agreement has had a negative effect on their families. Only 14 percent say their families have benefited from a free trade agreement.
  • A January Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll indicated that 58 percent of Americans think "globalization has been bad … because it has subjected American companies and employees to unfair competition and cheap labor."
  • As a sampling of local polling, Pennsylvania voters polled in the lead-up to the 2008 Democratic primary election by LA Times/Bloomberg said they consider the economy a top priority, with 55 percent of Democratic primary voters and 66 percent of Independents who will be voting in the Democratic primary naming it as the number one issue.
  • Similarly, in Ohio, a University of Cincinnati poll just before the Democratic primary showed that a plurality (41 percent) of voters said jobs and the economy would weigh most heavily on their vote, ahead of health care and insurance (25 percent) and the Iraq war (25 percent).
  • A SurveyUSA election poll of likely Democratic primary voters in Missouri found 44 percent of voters chose the economy as the top issue compared to 22 percent who chose health care and 13 percent who chose Iraq.

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