Wisconsin Bipartisan Poll Shows Voters Concerned with China and the Loss of Manufacturing Jobs

Participants Favor Trump and Clinton on Trade and Jobs

The income gap, the loss of manufacturing jobs, and the threat of terrorism top Wisconsinites’ concerns ahead of the April 5 primary, according to a new statewide poll of likely voters. Key findings from the poll, which was performed by Public Opinion Research and The Mellman Group, include:

  • Wisconsin voters see manufacturing as the critical centerpiece of America’s economy and believe moving jobs overseas is a significant threat.
  • Tough talk on free trade agreements does well with Republicans, while job training and fighting for manufacturing workers resonates with Democrats.
  • Top voter concerns include the growing gap between rich and poor (by 33 percent of participants), the loss of U.S. manufacturing jobs (by 30 percent of participants), terrorism (by 30 percent of participants) and the federal budget deficit (by 29 percent of participants).
  • Voters say Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will do the most to create U.S. manufacturing jobs and enforce fair trade.

“These results make sense. While one candidate may be saying it the loudest, the top candidates from both parties are talking trade and jobs,” said Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, who commissioned the poll, which was conducted in March 2016.

More than 5.5 million U.S. manufacturing jobs have been lost since 2000, with more than 130,000 from Wisconsin since 2001. While 60 percent of Wisconsinites are somewhat positive about their economic situation, nearly one in five Wisconsin households are dependent on manufacturing, according to the poll. The number is significant, as more than 26,000 manufacturing jobs are needed in the Badger State for a full recession recovery.

“Americans are paying attention to trade because our policies have hollowed out the middle class and inequality has come as a result,” Paul said. “When a community loses a factory, that community is forever changed. Trends show that wages drop and local businesses suffer. Voters have felt this and want solutions.”

Other findings include:

Trump and Clinton Are Top Jobs Candidates

  • Voters see Trump as the candidate who would do the most to help create American manufacturing jobs (by 29 percent or participants) and enforce fair trade (by 30 percent of participants), while Clinton is more widely seen as the candidate who would do some work to help create American manufacturing jobs (by 56 percent or participants) and enforce fair trade (by 51 percent of participants).
  • Among selected candidate quotes, Clinton’s statements on trade and jobs were the most net-favorable, followed by Trump. Generally, though, Trump is seen as the candidate who has found a way to discuss the issues in ways that are memorable and understandable.

Voters Worry about China

  • Seventy-seven percent of Wisconsinites have an unfavorable view of goods manufactured in China.
  • Over half of participants favor the United States getting tough with China on its trade cheating, even when risks are presented, while 37 percent worry a stronger approach will start a trade war.
  •  Overall, 63 percent of participants say it is important to crack down on foreign countries that violate trade agreements, with 75 percent of Republicans feeling that cracking down is important.

Manufacturing is Important to America’s Economy

  • Manufacturing is cited by 51 percent of voters as the most or second most important industry to the overall strength of the American economy.
  • Sixty-one percent of voters overwhelmingly feel that manufacturing is a critical part of the American economy.
  • Voters are favorable of American manufacturing companies and workers, with an overall 87 percent and 88 percent respectively. Conservative voters have 91 percent favorable view of U.S. manufacturing companies and workers.
  • Wisconsinites favor an array of pro-manufacturing public policies, including expanding apprenticeships and buying American whenever taxpayer money is spent.

For the full poll, more findings and graphics, visit: http://go.americanmanufacturing.org//page/file/3264a57b46ec27397a_0qm6ieuo6.pdf (PDF)