NPR logo Americans Don't Like Free Trade


Americans Don't Like Free Trade

Economists, by and large, are big fans of free trade. Most Americans, it turns out, are not.

Fifty three percent of Americans think the country has been hurt by free trade agreements, according to a recent WSJ/NBC poll. Only 17 percent think free trade has helped the U.S.

That's a big shift from the late '90s, when roughly 30 percent of people thought free trade hurt the country, and a similar percentage thought it helped. (Others said they weren't sure, or that free trade hasn't made much of a difference.)

One striking detail, highlighted in this morning's WSJ: Republicans and people with high incomes are even more likely than Dems and people with low incomes to say that outsourcing is a reason the economy is struggling.

This comes, of course, against a backdrop of countries around the world trying to devalue their currencies (which creates implicit tariffs), and rising trade tensions between the U.S. and China.