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Americans Warming to Free Trade – WSJ/NBC Poll

(Siobhan Hughes – Wall Street Journal)

Americans’ views of free trade have improved from the low levels following the recession, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC poll, suggesting a more favorable climate for a push by President Barack Obama and Republicans to pass new trade legislation.

Just 37% of adults polled last month said that free trade with foreign countries had helped the U.S., compared with 31% who said free trade had hurt. But that is a turning point: it marks the first time in more than 15 years that a plurality of Americans said that free trade helped. The last time Americans had more positive than negative views of trade was in December 1999, when 39% of respondents said that free trade agreements benefited the country and 30% who said the deals hurt.

Americans were divided over the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta), whose legacy haunts the current debate over whether to pass legislation expediting approval of the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership. Click here to read more.