Free trade agreements are growing in popularity among the American public. According to a Pew Research Center poll, 65% of the public “says free trade agreements between the U.S. and other countries have been a good thing” for the country, a figure that far outpaces the 22% saying FTAs have been a bad thing. The poll showed growth in that sentiment among Republicans, who had soured on trade ahead of the 2016 presidential election. In the poll, 59% of Republicans say FTAs have been good, roughly double the amount who made that statement in October 2016 (29%). Overall, the majority of both parties say FTAs have been a good thing and a majority of Americans (56%) say tariff increases “have been bad for the nation.” The survey also showed a growing concern about China’s power and influence in the world but a stronger desire to work with the country. More than 60% of respondents say it is more important to “build a stronger relationship” in U.S. trade and economic policy with China; 35% said it was more important to “get tougher” with China. Republicans in the poll were more likely to call for a stronger stance on China. The poll is based on telephone interviews conducted in mid-July among a national sample of just over 1,500 adults.
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