Poll shows overwhelming support for free trade, but opposition to TPP

Barack ObamaPool/Getty ImagesBarack Obama.

A Wednesday poll from the Consumer Technology Association showed that most registered American voters are in opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the landmark trade agreement being roasted along the campaign trail, while having an overwhelmingly positive view about the benefits of free trade.

While 42% of respondents to the poll support the TPP, President Barack Obama’s keystone of the “pivot to Asia” in American foreign policy that involves 11 other Pacific Rim nations, 56% believe free trade agreements lead to job creation in the US.

That number stands in contrast to some of the rhetoric along the campaign trail, where Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has said the implementation of TPP would lead to the continuing “rape of our country.” Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has also expressed her opposition to the agreement during the general election cycle.

The research, which was provided exclusively to Business Insider, also showed that 72% of voters believe trade agreements help keep consumer prices low, 70% said it strengthens the country’s global leadership, and 64% said the agreements ensure other countries will be penalised if they don’t adhere to trade rules.

It also found that 63% of millennial voters support the TPP, while 63% of black voters and 60% of Latino voters support the agreement as well.

“Despite what you’d think from listening to the rhetoric of both the major campaigns, most American voters agree that free trade is a job-creating win for our country, our economy and our consumers,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of CTA. “Secretary Clinton, Senator [Tim] Kaine and Governor [Mike] Pence were all correct in their pre-campaign assessments of TPP — this agreement will lower consumer prices, create good jobs and help ensure our country’s place at the forefront of the world’s economic stage.”

“Our research reveals a tremendous opportunity for the Clinton and Trump campaigns — one they’d be wise to seize upon in the next few weeks,” he added.

In a recent interview with Business Insider, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a one-time 2016 presidential hopeful who is now campaigning for the passage of the TPP, said he doesn’t agree with the premise that most American voters are against free trade agreements.

That includes the TPP.

“I don’t think people want to just say, ‘We’re not going to trade with anybody,'” he said. “I don’t accept that. I really don’t care — I’m going to be like one of these deniers — I don’t care what the polls say. People intuitively know that trade is good for our country. We just have to get the right trade agreements.”

The CTA poll surveyed 1,600 registered voters and has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

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