Ohioans Love Manufacturing — and Favor Getting Tough on China Trade

By Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch
Mar 09 2016 |
Ohio Gov. John Kasich was identified by respondents in a new statewide poll in Ohio as being the candidate most likely to enforce fair trade and create U.S. manufacturing jobs. | Photo by Gage Skidmore

New poll also finds support for John Kasich and Donald Trump on trade and manufacturing.

After Democrat Bernie Sanders's message on trade helped him capture a surprise win in the Michigan primary on Tuesday — and Republican Donald Trump's continued trade talk gave him a victory there — attention is shifting to Ohio, another midwest state with a big manufacturing base.

And a new statewide poll of likely Ohio voters finds trade will likely be a dominant issue in the March 15 primary, as vast majorities of respondents worry that the United States has “lost too many manufacturing jobs” and think it would be effective to “crack down on foreign countries that violate their trade agreements.”

Paying attention, 2016 presidential candidates?

Conducted Feb. 27 to March 2 by Public Opinion Research and The Mellman Group, the poll looked at voter opinion on trade, manufacturing and the presidential candidates. Researchers discovered that while support for American manufacturing is nearly universal, majorities of respondents are worried about a shrinking middle class and the impact of manufacturing job loss.

Most participants are also concerned about foreign trade, including with China. Ninety-one percent agreed that it’s time for crack down on countries that violate trade agreements, and 83 percent said that it is important that China is officially declared a currency manipulator.

Respondents also expressed worry about the economy as a whole, with 82 percent reporting that they are concerned “the U.S. is losing its place as the most successful and strongest economy in the world.”

Other key findings:

  • 93 percent of participants worry that the U.S. has “lost too many manufacturing jobs in this country.”
  • 74 percent of participants have unfavorable views of “manufactured goods made in China” including 77 percent of “conservative” respondents.
  • 96 percent of participants are favorable of “manufactured goods made in America,” including 98 percent of “conservative members of the GOP.”
  • 92 percent of participants think that “too many jobs are being shipped overseas” and 86 percent are worried they “don’t seem to manufacture anything here in America anymore.”

Outlook for 2016 Candidates

The poll also looked at participants’ views on presidential candidates. Republican candidates Ohio Gov. John Kasich, followed by businessman Donald Trump, were identified as those who would most “enforce fair trade with our trading partners,” ahead of Democrats Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders. Voters also see Kasich and Trump as being able to do the most to “create American manufacturing jobs.”

In addition:

  • 51 percent of participants say Kasich will enforce fair trade, including 43 percent of “liberals” and 60 percent of “conservatives.”
  • 45 percent of participants say Trump will enforce fair trade, including 28 percent of “liberals” and 61 percent of “conservatives.”
  • 44 percent of participants say Hillary Clinton will enforce fair trade, including 68 percent of “liberals” and 26 percent of “conservatives.”
  • 57 percent of participants say Kasich will create manufacturing jobs, including 38 percent of “liberals” and 71 percent of “conservatives.”
  • 51 percent of participants say Trump will create manufacturing jobs, including 38 percent of “liberals” and 66 percent of “conservatives.”
  • 48 percent of participants say that Clinton will create manufacturing jobs, including 84 percent of “liberals” and 25 percent of “conservatives.”

You can check out the full poll here.