May 26, 2009

Free Traders, Again

44%

A plurality of Americans say free trade agreements like NAFTA are good for the country.

After an odd year of protectionism, and despite the current recession, the American public is once again on the side of free trade; 44% say that trade agreements like NAFTA and the policies of the World Trade Organization are good for the country, up from 35% a year ago. This year’s balance is more in line with long-term trends on trade, as 2008 was the first time in surveys dating back to 1997 that a plurality viewed trade negatively. Roughly a third (35%) currently say free trade agreements are bad for the U.S., down from 48% in 2008. Democrats are much more supportive of trade this year than they were in 2008 (47% say trade is good compared with only 34% in 2008) as are blacks (47% vs. 30%) and those in low-income families (46% vs. 33%). Independents are also more favorable towards trade (up 8 points). Republican opinion remains essentially unchanged (41% “good” vs. 38% “bad”). Read More