Voters Show More Trade Acumen Than Nominees
For the first time since the 1920s, neither major-party nominee for president is supporting free trade. But despite the anti-trade sentiments at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland last week and the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this week, evidence proves access to international markets benefits the U.S. economy. And a new poll shows that the American public evidently understands these benefits better than the presidential nominees do.
An NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll released last week asked registered voters for their opinions on trade and other issues. When asked whether “free trade with foreign countries is good for America, because it opens up new markets and because the United States can't avoid it in a global economy,” 55% agreed.
A poll of Portland-area voters conducted in April found even stronger support for trade. The poll was conducted by DHM Research. Ninety% of those polled felt it was somewhat or very important for Oregon to support development of international trade. Presented with the statement, “On balance, international trade is good for Oregon because it creates jobs here and grows the state’s economy,” 71% agreed. And 62% agreed that “Our elected officials should be working to promote international trade to help Oregon businesses compete better in a global economy.”
The wording of the polling statements suggest an effective way for Oregon businesses and other supporters of free trade to make their case for open markets – by emphasizing both the tangible benefits of trade to Oregon and the inevitability of global competition. Here are some facts that help make that case:
The presidential nominees have demonized trade in an effort to secure the votes of frustrated blue-collar workers struggling to find and keep good-paying jobs. But the truth is that the jobs created by trade provide these workers some of the best opportunities for family wage jobs. And that’s especially true in Oregon, where exports account for about 12% of the state’s economy – one of the highest percentages in the nation.