Study Finds Partisan Divide But Overall Disapproval on Tariffs

In this July 18, 2018 photo, soybean farmer Michael Petefish walks through his soybeans at his farm near Claremont in southern Minnesota. American farmers have put the brakes on unnecessary spending as the U.S.-China trade war escalates, hoping the two countries work out their differences before the full impact of China’s retaliatory tariffs hits American soybean and pork producers. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

(CN) – Americans are split along party lines over the impact of new tariffs imposed against trade partners by the Trump administration, though most citizens overall oppose them, according to a report released Thursday by the Pew Research Center.

In a survey of 1,007 adults between July 11-15, 49 percent of respondents overall felt that the tariffs imposed in May will be detrimental to the American economy, while 40 percent thought that the tariffs will be good. Eleven percent said they were unsure how the tariffs would affect the economy.

However, Republicans and Democrats had virtually inverse views on the new tariffs. Seventy-three percent of Republicans said they will benefit the economy, whereas 77 percent of Democrats felt the opposite.

Other demographics, including sex, age and education level, revealed less polarized results. Women were more likely to view the tariffs negatively than men at 52 percent versus 45 percent, but both men and women overall viewed the tariffs more negatively than positively.

A 53-percent majority of adults 49 years old and younger viewed the tariffs negatively, but respondents over 50 were evenly split at 43 percent.

Majorities of college graduates, including white college graduates specifically, also had unfavorable opinions of the tariffs, at 56 percent and 53 percent, respectively.

Republicans and white respondents without a college degree were the only measured demographics showing majority support for the tariffs.

An overwhelming 82 percent of respondents that they had heard at least a little (34 percent) or a lot (48 percent) about the tariffs, the effects of which are beginning to appear in the private sector.

Weeks after the tariff announcements were made, motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson announced that the company would move some jobs overseas in response to retaliatory tariffs imposed by the European Union over the American tariffs.

Additionally, the Mid-Continent Nail Company began laying off workers in Missouri due to the Trump administration’s 25 percent tariffs on steel coming from Mexico, MSNBC reported.

According to the report, the tariffs affect raw steel imports, but not imports of the nails themselves, which made it more difficult for the American nail manufacturer to reach its financial goals. In one month, the company saw a 50 percent increase in cancelled orders, and it had to lay off 60 employees in response.

When prompted to address lawmakers and President Donald Trump, company operations manager Chris Pratt asked that they protect American jobs and grant the nail manufacturer an exemption from the steel tariffs.

Another worker highlighted the ripple effect that the tariffs would have on Mid Continent’s supply partners and said that it was not just about the 500 workers still at the nail plant.

So far, the steel tariffs have been a short-term detriment to factory workers across the country, but Trump has sustained the assertion that foreign trade partners, including China, Mexico and Canada, have been taking advantage of trade deals with the United States for decades.

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