Poll: Foreign Trade Good For U.S.

GENERIC trade ship export import map arrows
A majority of Americans agree that foreign trade is good for the U.S. economy, but they do not believe free trade should come at the expense of domestic industries, a CBS News poll has found.

Sixty-seven percent of Americans think the effect of international trade is positive, but almost as many believe trade restrictions are necessary to protect American industries.

Americans polled were progressively less enthusiastic about foreign trade the lower their income, education level and opinions of the current economic condition of the country was.

Read the data and analysis from new CBS News poll:
  • Foreign Trade and the U.S. Economy (.pdf)

  • Free Trade And The Economy

    67 percent
    20 percent

    69 percent
    17 percent

    Education of those who rate foreign trade as "good:"
    Some groups are more positive about the benefits of foreign trade on the national economy than others. Americans are more likely to see trade as beneficial as their incomes and education levels increase.

    67 percent

    Less than high school education
    52 percent
    High school graduate
    58 percent
    Some college
    70 percent
    College graduate
    80 percent
    84 percent

    Republicans are more likely to describe foreign trade as good for the economy than are Democrats and Independents, and while large majority of whites say that trade is good for the economy, only 44 percent of blacks agree.

    Free Trade Vs. Trade Restrictions

    By more than two to one, Americans say trade restrictions are necessary to protect domestic industries from foreign competition. Although this number dipped to 56 percent in July of 2000, it is nearly identical to what it was ten years ago.

    Restrictions on trade are necessary
    64 percent
    Free trade must be allowed
    29 percent

    July, 2000
    Restrictions on trade are necessary
    56 percent
    Free trade must be allowed
    31 percent

    October, 1996
    Restrictions on trade are necessary
    63 percent
    Free trade must be allowed
    27 percent

    This poll was conducted among a nationwide random sample of 1229 adults, interviewed by telephone January 20-25, 2006. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points.

    For more detailed information on how CBS News conducts public opinion surveys, click here.