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Bw/Harris Poll: Freer Trade Gets An Unfriendly Reception


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BW/HARRIS POLL: FREER TRADE GETS AN UNFRIENDLY RECEPTION

President Clinton kicked off his campaign to secure "fast track" authority to negotiate trade deals on Sept. 10. His objective is to expand existing free-trade deals such as the North American Free Trade Agreement. Americans, however, don't think much of fast-track power, and they don't want freer trade. Most support NAFTA as is, although they say it hasn't affected them personally. They worry that future deals will hurt jobs and eat into wages. Support for Clinton's plan is strongest among younger, better-educated Americans. Overall, Democrats oppose expanding NAFTA. For a more detailed analysis of the poll's results, see the accompanying story, "A Deeper Look at the Numbers."

FOR AND AGAINST

Do you favor or oppose NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement signed by Canada, Mexico, and the United States?

APRIL '95 SEPT. '97

Favor 48% 42%

Oppose 39% 36%

Don't know 13% 22%

WHO BENEFITS?

Do you think Mexico, Canada, and the United States have benefited from, been harmed by, or have not been much affected by NAFTA?

BENEFITED HARMED NOT DON'T

AFFECTED KNOW

Mexico

April '95 51% 13% 22% 14%

Sept. '97 57% 7% 15% 21%

Canada

April '95 29% 8% 40% 23%

Sept. '97 29% 5% 34% 32%

United States

April '95 23% 30% 35% 12%

Sept. '97 26% 34% 23% 17%

PERSONAL EFFECTS

Do you think you have personally benefited from, been harmed by, or not been much affected by NAFTA?

Have benefited 7%

Have been harmed 12%

Not been affected 71%

Don't know 10%

IS BIGGER BETTER?

President Clinton wants to extend NAFTA to include other Latin American countries. Do you favor or oppose this plan?

Favor 34%

Oppose 54%

Don't know 12%

FAST-TRACK FACTOR

President Clinton is asking Congress to renew fast-track authority for him, so he can negotiate trade deals with other countries. Should Congress renew fast-track authority for the President or not?

Should renew fast-track authority 36%

Should not renew fast-track authority 54%

Don't know 10%

SMALL PRINT

NAFTA includes side deals covering environmental and labor standard protections in Mexico and Canada. Do you think such side deals should be included in any extensions of NAFTA to other Latin American countries or not?

Should be included 49%

Should not be included 40%

Don't know 11%

ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES

In your opinion, should U.S. free-trade agreements with other countries seek to protect the environment or not?

Should seek to protect environment 87%

Should not seek to protect environment 10%

Don't know 3%

LABOR LOVE

Should free-trade agreements with other countries aim to lift the labor standards for workers in other countries or not?

Should aim to lift labor standards 73%

Should not aim to lift standards 20%

Don't know 7%

TEA IN CHINA

Since 1990, the United States has signed many new market-opening trade agreements with other countries, ranging from opening Japanese markets to trying to end copyright piracy in China. In general, have these deals helped you personally, hurt you, or not affected you?

Helped personally 8%

Hurt personally 10%

Did not affect 77%

Don't know 5%

JOB GENESIS

Do you think that expanded trade leads to an increase or decrease in the number of U.S. jobs?

Increase in jobs 37%

Decrease in jobs 56%

Don't know 7%

POCKETBOOK POWER

Do you think that expanded trade leads to lower wages or higher wages for Americans, or does it make no difference?

Higher wages 17%

Lower wages 40%

Makes no difference 38%

Don't know 5%

COMPARING PERILS

Which of these four is the biggest threat to American jobs--technological change, too much regulation, cheap foreign labor, or competition with imports?

Technological change 12%

Too much regulation 15%

Cheap foreign labor 56%

Competition with imports 17%

Survey of 1,010 adults conducted Sept. 3-7, 1997, for BUSINESS WEEK by Louis Harris & Associates Inc.EDITED BY KEITH H. HAMMONDSReturn to top


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