July 1st, 2008
12:19 PM ET
14 years ago

In challenge to McCain, majority against free trade

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/01/art.mccainpoll.ap.jpg caption=" McCain tours the Worth and Company factory in Pipersville, Pennsylvania, Monday."]

(CNN) - As John McCain prepares to promote the advantages of free trade during a high-profile trip to Colombia and Mexico, a poll released Tuesday suggests the issue may pose a political hurdle for the Arizona senator as the general election campaign heats up.

According to the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll, 51 percent of the Americans questioned view foreign trade as a threat to the economy - the first time in a CNN poll that a majority of respondents report holding negative views on free trade.

Read full poll results [PDF]

That compares to only 35 percent of those asked who felt that free trade posed a threat to the economy in 2000, and 48 percent who felt it was a threat in 2006.

Now only four in 10 the Americans questioned say free trade presents an opportunity for economic growth, a sentiment that clearly makes the issue a challenge for McCain, especially in the crucial Rust Belt states most affected by the loss of manufacturing jobs over the last decade.

Election Center: Check out where McCain, Obama stand on trade

"It's possible that John McCain's decision to highlight his free-trade position may wind up losing him some votes among Americans who feel threatened economically by competition from other countries," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said. "Recent polls in states like Pennsylvania and Michigan have shown McCain well behind Barack Obama. Calling attention to his stand on an issue like trade may be a part of the problems he apparently faces in those Midwestern states."

Full story

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (208 Responses)
  1. mike s.


    Thank you! I could not have said it better myself.

    McCain '08

    July 1, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  2. Patrick

    As a new young voter this is the difference I see between the two candidates and parties. McCain seems to care more about the world. He supports free trade, he doesn't want to pull out of Iraq, he's more of an internationalist in almost every policy. Obama is willing to pull us out of Iraq to help ourself but at the expense of Iraq and the middle east and he wants to limit free trade which MIGHT help some Americans but hurts the world. So why both men are running for President of the United States, we have learned over time we can't seal ourself off from the world. It is our duty to help raise the wealth and freedom of all people on earth. The democrats just seem selfish to me. Their policies only take care of ourselves and let the rest of the world to fend for themselves.

    July 1, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  3. Michael, Farmington, NH

    Hasn't McCain already admitted that he doesn't know much about the economy? How does the saying go? "It's the economy, stupid." This seems more appropriate now than ever vis a vis McBush.

    How can America willingly elect a president who admittedly knows nothing about the number one issue on our minds and in our pocket books?

    July 1, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  4. Patrick

    Also if you would actually take the time to look at the facts, NAFTA has helped our country over all. Not just big business, but everyday people like you and me. It's easy to blame all your troubles on one policy, but it's smarter to look at the facts and see what is working. I look at it this way, if you think things are bad now; just imagine if we shut ourselves off from the world. We will lose more than we gain.

    July 1, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  5. Cynthia - Arkansas

    I have worked for a Labor Union for 28 years. NAFTA & CAFTA are cuss words to union folks. Big mistake for McSame!

    July 1, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  6. The Surly Scholar

    McCain's overarching economic policy continues to make itself blindingly obvious: deregulate everything until we've regressed all the way back to turn-of-the-19th-century, pre-progressive robber baron style capitalism.

    That way he and his Keating Five buddies can walk around with their canes and their fur felt top hats, basking in the choking exhaust of unchecked industry while orphans and street urchins mill about and play stickball and such.

    You may laugh, but in all honesty his vision for our economy seems frighteningly reminiscent of the Charles Dickens era, and he and all his big business cronies get to play the part of Scrooge.

    July 1, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  7. RAY IN NJ

    Jobs in Pa. and NJ are being outsourced to other countries and there's plenty of resentment. For those remaining, there is the fear that it's just a matter of time before their positions go too! After all, they can hire 4 people at the same pay for every one U.S. job! There's nothing to do about it as it seems to be the wave of the future for corporations. I can tell you that in Pa. and NJ, many will vote for Obama SIMPLY because of his stance against corporate practices!

    July 1, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  8. suck up china

    All started with bill clintons and hillary support it....thats why bill got big bucks from colombia.....CHINA becoming super power now...THANKS TO BILL CLINTONS

    July 1, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
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