March 20, 2016

ONE BLOWHARD DOES NOT A rIGHTWARD SHIFT MAKE:

Surprise: Americans Kind Of Like Trade (Danielle Kurtzleben, 3/20/16, NPR)

[A]s it turns out, Americans as a whole seem to feel pretty good about foreign trade. Gallup found in February (hat-tip to the Upshot's Justin Wolfers) that 58 percent of Americans see trade as more of an opportunity than a threat.

Interestingly, polls also show that Democrats right now are slightly more in favor of free trade than Republicans. In the early 2000s, Republicans were more likely to see trade as an opportunity than a threat, according to Gallup. But around 2011, Democrats surpassed them. Around 61 percent of Democrats saw trade as an opportunity as of 2015, compared to 51 percent of Republicans.

The basic arguments for freer trade are simple: the ideas are that trade opens up more markets to U.S. exports, gives Americans more goods to choose from, and exchanges lower-quality jobs for higher-quality ones."
This bucks conventional wisdom that Republicans are more the party of free trade. (After all, big business interest groups, like the Chamber of Commerce, who support trade pacts, tend to support Republican politicians, while unions -- major Democratic supporters -- oppose many trade pacts). Indeed, both parties appear to be (moderately) the parties of free trade.

The bottom line, according to one public-opinion expert, is that Americans' views on trade may shift back and forth, but they never really get that extreme.

"Trade is never wildly popular, but sometimes it's less unpopular," said Karlyn Bowman, a senior fellow and public opinion analyst at the American Enterprise Institute, a right-leaning think tank in Washington, DC.


Poll says most Americans favor a path to citizenship (LAURIE KELLMAN, ASSOCIATED PRESS AND EMILY SWANSON, ASSOCIATED PRESS  December 17, 2015)

A majority of Americans -- 54 percent -- support a way for immigrants who are already in the country illegally to become citizens, while 44 percent are opposed. [...]

The new poll shows that while tough rhetoric on immigration appeals to a majority of Republicans, most still don't consider it a deal breaker issue.

Posted by at March 20, 2016 8:18 AM

  

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