January 8, 2015

Americans agree on trade: Good for the country, but not great for jobs

Trade is shaping up as a major issue on the 2015 legislative agenda, with Congress potentially voting on both expedited presidential trade negotiating authority and a yet-to-be concluded Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a U.S. trade and investment agreement with nations bordering the Pacific Ocean. Congressional leaders and Obama administration officials have touted both these initiatives as opportunities for bipartisan cooperation after years of partisan political gridlock in Washington.

Republicans & Democrats Agree on Trade, TPP, TTIPIndeed, a Pew Research Center survey suggests such bipartisan efforts could find public support. Despite conventional wisdom in Washington that Republicans are free traders and Democrats are protectionists, there is no partisan divide on trade outside the Washington Beltway. Both Republicans and Democrats voice the view that trade is good for the United States. But that won’t necessarily make passage of either trade initiative a slam dunk. Both the GOP and Democrats also agree that trade may not be good for them personally.

About two-thirds (68%) of Americans say that growing trade and business ties between the U.S. and other nations are good for the country. This includes 71% of Democrats and 68% of Republicans.

However, only one-in-five Americans think trade with other countries creates jobs. This includes 24% of Republicans and just 19% of Democrats. Similarly, only 17% of the general public says trade leads to higher wages, among these are 21% of the GOP and 14% of Democrats.

Moreover, there is a discernible partisan split in support for specific trade agreements now under negotiation. According to another Pew Research poll, more than half the American public thinks both TPP and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), an Obama administration trade and investment initiative with the European Union, would be good for the country. But Democrats and Republicans disagree on their merits. Just 49% of Republicans back TPP and only 44% support TTIP. Democrats are more supportive of both TTIP (60%) and TPP (59%).

Topics: Barack Obama, Globalization and Trade, Congress, Foreign Affairs and Policy

  1. Photo of Bruce Stokes

    is director of global economic attitudes at Pew Research Center.


  1. Don Kyle3 years ago

    There is a provision eliminating “made in America” quotas.

    Unless this is eliminated TPP(Trans-Pacific Partnership) is a bad agreementl!!

  2. GrumpyOne3 years ago

    If an action by government results in a net loss of jobs, how can it be beneficial to the nation as a whole?

    1. Art2 years ago

      Cheaper, better products and more revenue for companies.Funningly There is a similar amount of Republicans to Democrats saying TPP is good.

  3. Gail Jackson3 years ago

    That is disturbing news to me.
    For those who think the TPP and Fast Track are good for the world, I suggest you wander around PublicCitizen.org’s website to learn the truth. These trade agreements mostly profit corporations, they are conducted secretly and approximately 500 corporations contribute. Foreign investor rights can trump government (national, state and local) laws protecting public health and the environment. Public Citizen documents numerous cases where that has happened under prior trade agreements.

  4. Marvin S. Robinson,II3 years ago

    COULD the PEW RESEARCH Center, 114Th CONGRESS, OBAMA Administration and the national news media take into account that 88 MILLION to 96 MILLION American Citizens are severely UNEMPLOYED, already.
    Who are you all POLLING ? Utilities are escalating, Personal Property Real Estate Taxes are going up just as, fast- VETERANS have NO; VETERANS ADMINISTRATION getting sustainable HOUSING secured, nor Health-Care issues corrected.
    Private, and/or Corporate Prisons have taken many manufacturing jobs from the civilian populations; then the borders keep getting further and wider openings with governmental budgetary access; all at the same time that companies are still being given Tax Credit and Incentives to have JOBS overseas, in every other country, except the U.S.A.
    Can the PEW RESEARCH Center get with Congress, the Obama Administration and other media professionals and figure out how to implement a new 21st century W.,P.A. for those who are “be-dazzled” by record breaking Wall Street STOCK MARKET successes.
    In any event, thank for allowing this Veteran to encourage a re-focus on DOMESTIC United States of American JOBS for American Citizens who are in the MILLIONS of UNEMPLOYED and do not get included in official U.S. Labor Department calculations.
    We have so much CREATIVE-TALENT and KNOWLEDGE WORKERS, just being dismissed like we are INVISIBLE and INAUDIBLE. Again, THANK GOD, we can still call the 24 hour per day / 7 days a week PRAYER phone workers.
    Marvin S. Robinson, II
    Quindaro Ruins / Underground Railroad- Exercise 2015