Pew Poll: Republicans Are Alone In Opposition To NAFTA

REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

Alex Pfeiffer White House Correspondent
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Americans are generally supportive of the North American Free Trade Agreement, a deal President Donald Trump has threatened multiple times to tear up.

Pew Research poll released Monday showed that 56 percent of Americans think NAFTA has been good for the U.S., while 33 percent think it had a negative effect. There is a strong partisan split in people’s stances on the trade agreement as 54 percent of Republicans think it was bad for America, while 72 percent of Democrats think NAFTA is a good deal.

President Trump attacked NAFTA on the campaign trail as the “worst trade deal maybe ever signed” due to the loss of thousands of manufacturing jobs. The U.S., Mexico and Canada are now undergoing NAFTA renegotiations, however, Trump continues to threaten to pull out of the agreement.


The president’s stance on trade is a departure from GOP establishment orthodoxy. Republican Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, a Trump critic, frequently goes after the president when it comes to the issue.

“It is clear at this moment that a traditional conservative who believes in limited government and free markets, who is devoted to free trade, and who is pro-immigration, has a narrower and narrower path to nomination in the Republican party — the party that for so long has defined itself by belief in those things,” Flake said in his retirement speech.

However, for some time now Republicans have been skeptical of current trade policy.

A 2010 Pew poll found that Republicans and Republican-leaning voters who side with the Tea Party have a negative view on trade. That poll found that 63 percent of these voters thought existing free trade agreements were bad for the US, while 24 percent thought they were beneficial.