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Americans are Generally Positive About Free Trade Agreements, More Critical of Tariff Increases

Posted May 11, 2018

Under Economic Issues, International Trade Issues


(Bradley Jones – Pew Research)

Americans’ views of free trade agreements, which turned more negative during the 2016 presidential campaign, are now about as positive as they were prior to the campaign. And when asked about proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum, more say they would be bad for the country than say they would be good.

A majority of U.S. adults (56%) say free trade agreements have been a “good thing” for the country as a whole, while 30% say they have been a “bad thing.” That is the highest share expressing positive views of free trade agreements in three years, according to a new survey by Pew Research Center.

Most of the change has come among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, who now are evenly divided in their views of free trade agreements’ impact on the country. While 46% say these agreements have been a bad thing for the country, nearly as many (43%) say they have been a good thing. In the final weeks of the presidential campaign in October 2016, 63% of Republicans viewed free trade agreements negatively, while just 29% said they were a good thing. Click here to read more.

Related: Pew Foreign Policy Survey