New Poll: Likely Voters Prioritize Raising Wages for U.S. Workers in Free Trade Agreements

Washington, D.C. - With the text of the U.S.-Mexico trade agreement expected today and Canada's deadline this weekend, a Mellman Group and Public Opinion Strategies national survey of 1,200 likely voters finds, among other discoveries, that likely voters’ top priorities for new trade agreements are raising wages for U.S. workers (72 percent), promoting strong foreign policy alliances (71 percent), and establishing penalties to prevent trade partners from cheating or side-stepping commitments (67 percent). Read more about the findings here.

Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) President Scott Paul said:

"American voters have made it clear that any free trade agreement our country joins must work first for American workers and ensure there are no loopholes for abuse. For decades, free trade agreements like NAFTA have fallen short, put downward pressure on wages, and left too many workers in all three nations behind.

"The poll shows that our leaders have no other option than to commit themselves to fighting for good paying jobs and fair trade, both of which are intimately linked. Americans aren't opposed to free trade agreements, but only if they benefit all players in our economy - not just a select few at the top."

BACKGROUND: This national survey polled 1,200 likely 2018 general election voters from Aug. 28 through Sept. 9, 2018. Survey interviews were conducted on both land-lines and cellphones, using a registration-based sample. The margin of error for is +/-2.8% at the 95% level of confidence, and is higher for subgroups.

Given a list of eight different proposals to create jobs and strengthen the economy, “enacting more free trade agreements” ranked near the bottom, below cracking down on unfair trade, a national infrastructure repair effort, and investing in vocational and technical training. Barely one in 10 (11 percent) felt enacting trade agreements was one of the most important things to do, and only 38 percent felt it was even “very important.” This sentiment held consistent across demographics, with trade agreements ranking near the bottom in importance across party, race, region, among manufacturing households and with the white working-class. Voters are open to the idea of free trade agreements, but they will judge the success of any agreement by how much it will do to help American workers and stop unfair trade.