Poll: Most Americans say Trump’s trade talks with China won’t improve US economy

Two-thirds of registered voters said they don’t expect President Trump’s trade negotiations with China to result in better economic conditions for Americans, according to a poll.

In a Hill-HarrisX survey released Monday, 36 percent said the talks would make things worse while 31 percent said they don’t think the negotiations will make a difference. Thirty-three percent said the talks will lead to more jobs and economic opportunities.

Democrats and Republicans were divided in their predictions, but not as starkly as they were on other matters, such as approval of president’s job performance.

Fifty-eight percent of Democrats said they believed Trump’s China negotiations would result in fewer jobs and economic opportunities, compared with 59 percent of Republicans who said they would improve things.

The same survey found that 82 percent of GOP respondents approved of Trump’s overall job performance, while 86 percent of Democrats said they did not.

Forty-one percent of independent voters said the negotiations would make no difference. Twenty-eight percent said they would result in more jobs and economic opportunities, with 31 percent saying they would make economic conditions worse.

Pessimism about the negotiations was higher among older respondents: 48 percent of voters age 65 and up said the talks would likely harm the U.S. economy; 38 percent of voters between 50 and 64 said the negotiations would worsen conditions; and respondents who between the ages of 35 and 49 were evenly divided on all three possible outcomes.

Among all age groups, voters younger than 35 were most likely to say the trade talks would make no difference. Thirty-eight percent said they would have no real effect; 34 percent said they would create better economic opportunities for Americans; and 28 percent said the discussions would make things worse.

As president, Trump has frequently touted his diplomatic skills, arguing that several Democratic presidential aspirants would be unable to handle negotiations with Chinese President Xi Jinping and other foreign leaders.

“He’s got a great chance, doesn’t he? He’ll be great,” Trump said sarcastically˙ last week of South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg. “He’ll be great representing us against President Xi of China. That’ll be great, I want to be in that room, I wanna watch that one.”

The trade war, which is approaching the one-year mark, has led to varying levels of support among lawmakers. Many Democrats have been supportive of Trump taking a tough stance on China, while some GOP senators have raised concerns about the effect of tariffs on farm states.

The Hill-HarrisX survey was conducted May 10-11 among 1,000 online among a statistically representative sample of registered voters with a 95 percent confidence level and a 3.1 percent sampling margin of error.

—Matthew Sheffield

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