Record Number of Americans Say International Trade Is Good for the US Economy
This survey finds that though Republicans and Democrats differ on whether President Trump’s strategy is an effective approach to trade policy, the American public is more likely than ever to say that international trade benefits the US.
President Donald Trump has embarked on an ambitious and disruptive trade agenda, driven by his belief that the United States has lost “many billions of dollars” to trading partners and that “trade wars are good, and easy to win.”1 During his term, the president has escalated trade tensions with China; has renegotiated trade agreements with countries such as Mexico, Canada, and South Korea; and has withdrawn US involvement in trade deals such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The 2019 Chicago Council Survey finds that though Republicans and Democrats differ on whether President Trump’s strategy is an effective approach to trade policy, the American public is more likely than ever to say that international trade benefits the United States.
- 83 percent of Americans think international trade is good for American companies, a 25 percentage point increase from when it was last asked in 2016.
- Nearly nine in ten Americans (87%) say that international trade is good for the US economy, the highest recorded in Chicago Council Surveys since the question was first asked in 2004.
- 63 percent of Americans now believe trade deals between the United States and other countries benefit both sides, up from 50 percent in 2017.
- Americans are deeply divided on whether to increase tariffs on Chinese products with 47 percent supporting it and 51 percent opposing it.
- 77 percent of Americans favor complying with World Trade Organization (WTO) rulings against the United States.
The analysis in this report is based on data from the 2019 Chicago Council Survey of the American public on foreign policy, a project of the Lester Crown Center on US Foreign Policy. The 2019 Chicago Council Survey was conducted June 7-20, 2019 by IPSOS using their large-scale nationwide online research panel, KnowledgePanel, among a weighted national sample of 2,059 adults, 18 years of age or older, living in all 50 US states and the District of Columbia. The margin of sampling error for the full sample is ±2.3, including a design effect of 1.1607. The margin of error is higher for partisan subgroups or for partial-sample items.