12/19/2006 - The American public continues to have a mixed opinion about free trade agreements such as NAFTA and the WTO. On balance they are seen as a good thing for the country, but Americans are divided over the impact of free trade agreements on their own personal financial situations. About as many people think they are helped by them (35%) as believe they are hurt (36%).
Many Americans worry that free trade has had a negative effect on jobs and wages. Nearly half (48%) believe that free trade agreements lead to job losses in the U.S., while just 12% say that trade agreements have created jobs. A comparable number (44%) says that free trade has led to lower wages for American workers.
By contrast, there is less agreement that free trade has promoted economic growth or led to lower prices on products sold in the United States. Indeed, about as many people say that free trade agreements have raised prices on products as say that they have led to lower prices (30% vs. 32%).
The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted among 1,502 adults from Dec. 6-10, finds that there is broad agreement about one group of beneficiaries from free trade agreements: Nearly six-in-ten Americans (57%) say that free trade is good for the people of developing countries, compared with just 19% who say it does not make a difference and 9% who think that free trade agreements are bad for the publics of developing countries.
Read the full report Free Trade Agreements Get a Mixed Review, 51% Say U.S. Has Responsibility to Address Darfur on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press Web site.