Poll: Democrats Now Like NAFTA. Is Anti-Trump Sentiment To Blame?

Posted: Feb 28, 2017 3:35 PM

President Donald Trump has railed against the North American Free Trade Agreement, as has Middle America who feels that the trade agreement has sucked away America’s jobs. With Wilbur Ross being confirmed as commerce secretary last night, the Trump administration can set the wheels in motion for renegotiating trade deals. Yet, there’s been a reversal of fortune concerning the agreement’s popularity. In all, the nation is virtually split down the middle on whether NAFTA is good or bad for the country (48/46 respectively). On party lines, well, 67 percent of Democrats now support the agreement, while it has sunk with Republicans. Is it anti-Trump sentiment and the Left’s mantra that they must oppose everything he does play any part in this? Maybe. After all, Gallup said that his anti-NAFTA rhetoric might have contributed to its dismal status with Republicans. The same could be said for why it has become more popular with Democrats. In 2004, just 39 percent of Democrats supported NAFTA. The sharp rise in Democratic support seems to have occurred in 2015 and 2016 when Trump announced his intention to become the 45th president of the United States:

Perhaps because of Trump's criticisms of NAFTA, fewer Republicans now than in the past say the agreement has been good for the U.S. Twenty-two percent of Republicans now hold this view, down from 40% in 2004 and 46% in 2000. In contrast, 67% of Democrats now say NAFTA has been good for the country, up from 39% in 2004 and 49% in 2000. While there was essentially no gap in Republicans' and Democrats' views of NAFTA from 1997 to 2004, a large partisan divide now exists.

The trajectory of independents' views has been similar to Democrats, with their support increasing from 37% in 2004 to 53% now. Republicans are the only party group in which support for NAFTA does not reach a majority level.

Gallup added that NAFTA is often used as a proxy concerning U.S.-Mexican relations, which appears to be rocky and one where immigration plays a role. Keeping NAFTA alive may be viewed by liberals as a way to keep healthy levels of immigration, both legal and illegal, along with the added notion that they will support anything that could screw over the Trump White House. It just seems a bit unlikely that almost 70 percent of Democrats now support a trade agreement over the past two year, which they historically never really liked. 

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