Most Americans favour the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the landmark free trade agreement that’s been ripped apart during the 2016 campaign, according to a
poll published Wednesday from the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.
Despite Republican nominee Donald Trump saying the passing of TPP would contribute to the alleged “rape of our country,” and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton saying she no longer supports the trade deal, 60% of Americans stand in favour of the deal, the poll found. By party, 71% of Democrats are in favour while 58% of Republicans and 52% of independents approve of the agreement.
Even among Republican Trump supporters, 47% support the deal, while 58% of Republicans who backed another candidate are in favour of the agreement.
Here were some other interesting bits from the poll:
- 65% of Americans believe globalization is mostly good for the US.
- 70% say international trade is good for US consumers.
- 59% say international trade is good for the economy.
- 64% say it’s good for their own standard of living.
- However, just 40% say it’s good for creating US jobs, and just 35% say it’s good for the job security of American workers.
The poll was conducted by an online research panel between June 10-27 among a sample of 2,061 adults above the age of 18. The margin of error ranged from 2.2 to 3.5 percentage points.
That sentiment expressed in the poll has been mostly absent from the 2016 campaign, where trade and the TPP have become centrepiece issues.
“A continuing rape of our country,” Trump said of TPP during a July rally. “That’s what it is, too. It’s a harsh word. It’s a rape of our country.”
Clinton, who supported the deal while she served as secretary of state, reversed her position on it during the primary season, saying there still needs to be work done on it after both Trump and her top challenger, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, roiled the agreement along the campaign trail. During the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia last month, pro-Sanders supporters waved “No TPP” signs and chanted down various speakers by shouting “No TPP.”
But President Barack Obama, who’s administration has championed the agreement, has not wavered in his support as the deal has become toxic along the trail.
The agreement still needs to be ratified by Congress, which some say could happen during the lame-duck session of Congress following the November election.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, who’s been a staunch supporter of the agreement in the past, recently said it had to be renegotiated while meeting with Wisconsin manufacturing workers in early August.
“I don’t think there’s a high likelihood (of the TPP’s passage) right now because … we don’t have the votes to pass it because people like me have problems with some significant provisions of it that we believe need to get fixed,” Ryan said. “But here’s the point: we do need trade agreements. I know a lot of people say just get rid of trade agreements, don’t do trade agreements, and that’s terrible. That’s a problem for us.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has also expressed support for the deal in the past, but he’s recently said the deal might not come up for a vote until the next president takes office.
Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, a frequently fierce critic of Trump and proponent of the TPP, told Business Insider in a late-June interview that trade agreements are some of the most difficult things to sell during a campaign. But, he added, the deal must get passed.
“It’s more difficult to identify on the net, companies that have benefited from exports, cheaper goods,” he said. “Not just cheaper goods but cheaper inputs. So [it] takes a lot longer than a 30-second sound bite. It’s incumbent on us who have six-year terms to be talking about this.”
He said Congress needed to “suck up” and ratify TPP because “it has to be done.”
“I do still think there are enough people that realise we’ve got to do it,” he said.