Though Americans’ shopping behavior may suggest otherwise, Economist/YouGov polling finds respondents wary of trade with China. Fifty-one percent said they think the U.S. should decrease its trade with China, vs. 11 percent favoring an increase.
Aversion to trade with China increases with age. Sixty percent of the poll’s 65-and-older respondents said they favor a decrease, as did 54 percent of the 30-64-year-olds and 38 percent of the 18-29s.
Such sentiment wasn’t just a blue-collar predilection. Respondents in the $100,000-plus income bracket were a shade more likely than those in the under-$40,000 group to favor a decrease in trade with China (49 percent vs. 48 percent, with 57 percent of the poll’s middle-incomers saying the same).
Fielded last month, the survey also asked about trade with some other nations, and only Saudi Arabia drew as negative a reaction as China — a sign, presumably, of distaste for American reliance on Middle Eastern oil. On the opposite end of the opinion spectrum, Canada was the country whose “increase trade” vote (43 percent) most exceeded its “decrease trade” tally (5 percent).
Despite talk of a surge in protectionist sentiment since the recession started, respondents did not voice hostility to international trade in general. Majorities agreed that trade with other countries is “good for the U.S. economy” (65 percent) and “good for you and your family” (56 percent). On this latter topic, there was a significant gap along income lines. Seventy-four percent of the $100,000-plusers said trade is good for them and their family, vs. 48 percent of those in the under-$40,000 bracket and 57 percent of the poll’s middle-income cohort.