Majorities in both parties now say free trade agreements have been good for the U.S.
About two-thirds of Americans (65%) currently say free trade agreements between the U.S. and other countries have been a good thing for the United States – an increase of 9 percentage points over the past year, and a substantial shift in public opinion since the eve of the 2016 election (when roughly equal shares said trade agreements were a good thing – 45% – as said they were a bad thing – 43%). Views of free trade agreements are now more positive than at any point in the last decade.
For the first time since the 2016 campaign, more Republicans say free trade agreements have been a good thing for the United States than say they have been a bad thing. Today, 59% of Republicans and Republican leaners say free trade agreements have been a good thing for the country; 29% say they have been a bad thing. The current balance of opinion within the GOP is similar to views in the spring of 2015, when 56% said trade agreements were a good thing and 34% said they were a bad thing.
Nearly three-quarters of Democrats and Democratic leaners (73%) now say free trade agreements are good for the country, up from 67% last spring. Democratic views of free trade agreements have long been more positive than negative, but they are now more positive than at any point since the question was first asked in 2009.
Most Americans say tariff increases have been bad for the nation
A majority of Americans (56%) say that increased tariffs between the U.S. and its trading partners have been bad for the country, while just 37% say they have been good for the country.
Overall attitudes about tariff increases are little changed since last fall. Republicans and Republican leaners continue to have much more positive views of tariff increases than Democrats and Democratic leaners. About two-thirds (67%) of Republicans say that tariff increases have been good for the U.S., while just 26% say they have been bad for the country (the share of Republicans saying they have been bad for the country is slightly higher than it was in September). By comparison, about eight-in-ten Democrats (82%) say these increases have been bad for the country, and these views are little changed in recent months.
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