Majority of Americans support expanded trade, poll

Majority of Americans support expanded trade, poll
© Getty Images

A majority of Americans support expanding trade and say the United States must engage globally to grow the economy, a view that runs counter to the anti-trade sentiment in the presidential campaigns, according to a new poll.

The Third Way poll found that voters favor by a two-to-one margin "expanding exports of American products to other countries" (60 percent) to those who want to limit imports, despite negative trade rhetoric from the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates.


The poll showed that 56 percent of voters agree with the statement “the U.S. economy cannot succeed if we limit trade with other countries."

That support is seen across demographic groups but it is especially strong among Democrats (61%), liberals (62%), Clinton voters (62%) and millennials (67%).

Most congressional Democrats are resisting a push by President Obama to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) this year.

Even among Trump voters, 50 percent said the United States can't succeed if trade is limited. 

On Friday, the president touted the benefits of far-reaching trade agreements in an effort to counterbalance Republican nominee Donald TrumpDonald TrumpHeadaches intensify for Democrats in Florida Stormy Daniels set to testify against former lawyer Avenatti in fraud trial Cheney challenger wins Wyoming Republican activists' straw poll MORE and Presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonNo Hillary — the 'Third Way' is the wrong way The dangerous erosion of Democratic Party foundations The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Democrats see victory in a voting rights defeat MORE, who both oppose the TPP. 

Obama said that "globalization is a fact" and "we’re not going to be able to build a wall around that" a knock against Trump's vow to renegotiate or withdraw the United States from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the TPP. 

At the Republican National Convention on Thursday night, Trump vowed to overhaul the nation’s trade policy. 

Trump said he would focus on bilateral trade deals instead of forging larger multi-nation agreements, like the 12-nation TPP.

Mexico President Enrique Peña Nieto, who joined the president on Friday in a press conference at the White House, provided his support for the TPP as an avenue to improving the oft-criticized NAFTA pact between the United States, Mexico and Canada.

"I think the position of the United States is that after 20 years of having NAFTA, we now have the conditions to modernize it, to update NAFTA and potentialize this agreement even more," Peña Nieto said. 

Obama agreed saying that “we’ve learned from our experience in NAFTA what’s worked, what hasn’t, where we can strengthen it.” 

Still, voters are concerned about the negative effects of global trade, including jobs losses, a worry that Trump is using in an effort to gain an edge across Rust Belt states. 

Among a list of voters' worries, 61 percent expressed some concern that ”trade with countries like China and Mexico will cost jobs in my community"with 31 percent saying it worried them a “great deal," according to the Third Way poll. 

Interestingly, millennial voters (ages 18-34) broke from other voting groups — with 51 percent saying globalization is not much of a concern.

The president addressed that issue, as well, in his Friday remarks. 

“So we have to focus on how do we ensure the economy works for everybody and not just a few," Obama said.  

"There are dangers that globalization increased inequality,” he said. 

He said that the TPP includes protections for workers to ensure they don't get left behind.

"And that’s what we have to focus on," Obama said. "And the Trans-Pacific Partnership is consistent with that.”

The nationwide poll of 1,000 registered voters was conducted from June 22-28.