Politics

Voters in Key Swing State Agree: Faulty Trade Deals Bad for Jobs

New survey finds Virginians from across ideological lines turning on pacts like TPP

A whopping 59 percent of Virginians in a new poll agree with the statement: “We can bring jobs back to America by reducing our nation’s participation in trade deals that make it easy for other countries to flood our markets with cheap goods.”

The poll was conducted on Americans for Limited Government’s behalf by Norman Research and Analytics among 1,062 registered voters telephone surveyed on both landlines and mobile devices from Sept. 2 to Sept. 11.

Overall, Virginians strongly support American sovereignty and voters across the Commonwealth sense that current trade deals do a poor job of protecting American interests.

That result cuts across ideological grounds. Excluding unaffiliated voters, 59 percent of conservatives, 72 percent of moderates, and 58 percent of liberals all agree that jobs could be brought back by rolling back bad trade deals. There is no party registration in Virginia, so that portion of the poll was conducted on the basis of philosophy.

But the same result can also be measured in every single demographic in the poll. The following margins all agreed that jobs could be brought back by rolling back bad trade deals:

  • 61 percent of 18 to 24-year-olds.
  • 56 percent of 25 to 34-year-olds.
  • 54 percent of 35 to 44-year-olds.
  • 67 percent of 45 to 54-year-olds.
  • 60 percent of 55 to 64-year-olds.
  • 58 percent of people 65 years old and older.

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It goes on. 59 percent of whites, 55 percent of blacks, 59 percent of males, and 59 percent of females all agree trade agreements that favor foreign nations cost Americans jobs, but that the situation could be reversed with less participation.

It even goes across education level — 64 percent of high school graduates or less, 63 percent of some college, and 56 percent of college graduates agree.

Every single group agreed with the basic statement on bringing jobs back to the U.S. by reducing America’s role in trade agreements with countries that flood our markets with cheap goods.

Who knew that Virginia was such a ripe ground for an aggressive message on trade issues?

Rick Manning, president of Americans for Limited Government, argued in a statement that the poll’s result should have members of Congress reconsidering support for lame-duck passage of the 12-nation Tran-Pacific Partnership trade deal after the election.

“The fact that people from all age, gender, racial, and education demographics agree with this basic statement should give strong pause to Congress if it should attempt to pass the TPP during a lame-duck session. While we didn’t micro-target down to this level, it appears that the only segments of the Virginia electorate that might support the TPP are those who are paid to lobby for it by the multinationals who would most benefit from the deal,” Manning said.

The polling also explored the general notion of who should make the laws and regulations that impact Americans, with 69 percent to 26 percent agreeing with the statement, “America must have the ability to set its own laws and regulations and not be bound to standards set by foreign nations and international organizations.” That “America First” sentiment runs deeply throughout the state, with a significant majority wanting lawmakers to make decisions based on U.S. interests.

Overall, Virginians strongly support American sovereignty and voters across the Commonwealth sense that current trade deals do a poor job of protecting American interests.

“It is refreshing to see that regardless of political leaning, Virginians are committed to the constitutional construct that our nation’s laws should be made through the consent of the governed, and not imposed by foreign, unaccountable bodies empowered by trade deals,” Manning added.

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The study clearly demonstrates that the public has little trust that existing trade agreements have been beneficial on the whole, and while respondents do not reject international trade, they are highly skeptical that America’s interests have been served through recent trade deals.

The study concludes by stating, “It is clear that any legislation or proposal that cedes U.S. authority to international bodies and allows those foreign bodies to exert authority over American citizens and commerce will be met with strong opposition. As the debate over various trade arrangements goes forward, these trends and attitudes will be tested in other states. But using Virginia as a guide, moving to enact the Trans-Pacific Partnership would be a serious political mistake for those advocating it.”

As far as the presidential race is concerned, the overwhelming results on trade show that Virginia could be ripe for the picking by Donald Trump, who has been waging an “America First” campaign that calls for renegotiating trade agreements with foreign nations. If that message manages to get through to Virginians, for example in the debates, Trump could fare better in the Commonwealth than anybody has been predicting.

Robert Romano is the senior editor of Americans for Limited Government.

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