PURPLE REIGN? Veteran Democratic pollster Peter Brodnitz say there’s a big misconception about how voters view trade, noting a new Progressive Policy Institute poll that shows 65 percent of swing voters in four battleground states think manufacturing jobs have been lost to cheap labor competition overseas, not bad trade deals.
“There’s a very big difference between the perception of where the electorate is [on trade] and where the electorate actually is,” Brodnitz said. He added that respondents favored trade deals with strong labor and environmental standards.
The poll by the center-left-leaning think tank also found that the swing voters in Colorado, Florida, Nevada and Ohio , who make up a fifth of the electorate in those states, overwhelmingly support international trade agreements. About three quarters of the swing voters, defined as those who said they did not always vote for one party in past elections, said the U.S. must rely heavily on trade with other countries to ensure a strong economy. Still, a majority of Republican voters – 59 percent – said they were more likely to blame bad trade agreements for job losses.
BUT TPP DRAWS BLANK STARE: Another poll out Thursday found that slightly less than half of 10,000 respondents surveyed either don’t have an opinion or don’t know about the TPP, despite the largely negative publicity it’s getting in the presidential race.
That said, about a quarter of respondents to the poll, put out by Morning Consult, gave the trade deal a thumbs up, while 29 percent said they oppose it. Consistent with the results of previous polls, more Republicans said they oppose the TPP (34 percent) than support it (24 percent), despite their party’s generally pro-free-trade position, while more Democrats back the deal (32 percent) than are against it (23 percent), even with their party’s traditional skepticism about free trade policy.
On this last point, the respondents aligned more with the prevalent view among Democratic lawmakers, with 63 percent saying free trade would take away jobs, while half said free trade would probably weaken the U.S. economy and 53 percent said it would decrease middle-class wages.