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POLITICO

Poll: Almost half of voters think tariffs on Chinese goods would hurt U.S. economy

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 May, 2018, 11:48am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 May, 2018, 4:41pm

This story is being published by the South China Morning Post as part of a content partnership with POLITICO. It was reported by Megan Cassella and originally appeared on politico.com on May 22, 2018.

U.S. voters are almost as likely to believe President Donald Trump’s proposed tariffs on Chinese goods would hurt American consumers as they are to think the Chinese would suffer, a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll shows. 

The survey of nearly 2,000 registered voters found that 47 percent felt raising tariffs would have the Trump administration’s intended effect of hurting China’s economy, and 50 percent felt it would hurt Chinese businesses. But 46 percent also felt the penalties would hurt U.S. consumers, particularly lower- and middle-class Americans. 

In contrast, about 1 in 5 respondents said tariffs would help China’s economy and businesses, while just over a quarter said they would help U.S. consumers. 

The survey was completed just before the Trump administration announced over the weekend it would be at least temporarily backing off threats to impose 25 percent penalties on up to $150 billion in Chinese exports to the United States. But it’s unclear whether the two countries will reach a deal to permanently ratchet down tensions. Trump proposed the tariffs to punish Beijing for what the White House sees as the theft of intellectual property and the use of policies that bolster its own technological and economic development at the expense of U.S. companies.



U.S. industries from the agricultural sector and farm states to advanced manufacturing and technology companies have been warning Trump that imposing hefty tariffs on imports are not the best way to address trade problems with China since they could backfire on domestic industries. 

Beijing has threatened to respond with punitive duties of its own if the administration does move forward with any tariffs. 

Asked about the United States’ current relationship with China, 41 percent of those surveyed said the economic relationship has gotten worse in the last year, and only 28 percent said it has gotten better.



About 4 in 10 voters also believe the U.S. is in a trade war with China, while 1 in 4 said the opposite. 

Morning Consult is a nonpartisan media and technology company that provides data-driven research and insights on politics, policy and business strategy. 

More details on the poll and its methodology can be found in these two documents — Toplines: https://politi.co/2wXHkL7 | Crosstabs: https://politi.co/2rZOWac