By: Tula Connell, AFL-CIO
U.S. voters across the political spectrum overwhelming have negative views of companies that outsource jobs to China and strongly support Buy America provisions, according to a poll released today by the Alliance for American Manufacturing. Voters also say strengthening manufacturing in the United States is a top economic priority and they back the creation of a national manufacturing strategy to better compete with foreign nations that already have them in place.
Some 83 percent surveyed say they have an unfavorable view of companies that outsource jobs to China, and the vast majority—87 percent of Republicans, 87 percent of Independents and 91 percent of Democrats—support strong Buy America preferences for public works, according to the poll, taken by a bipartisan team of prominent Republican and Democratic pollsters. Voters maintain extremely favorable views of goods manufactured in the United States (97 percent favorable).
When asked if large infrastructure projects paid for by taxpayers should be made in the United States versus given to the lowest bidder, 81 percent say it’s more important that bridges, roads and more are U.S. made. In fact, pollsters report that voters in the focus groups were stunned to learn that steel production for the center span of the new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge had been outsourced to China.
Says Alliance for American Manufacturing Executive Director Scott Paul:
This election will turn on who voters believe will go to bat for them to create and vigorously defend manufacturing jobs.
Some 61 percent back the Obama administration’s move to support the American auto industry. In addition, 57 percent of those surveyed think the quality of cars produced by the U.S. auto industry has improved.
More than two-thirds of respondents also say China’s violations of international trade rules are costing U.S. jobs, and nearly as many (62 percent) said Washington needs to get tougher on China’s cheating. Voters of all affiliations overwhelmingly support getting tough with China, even when posed with the argument that getting tougher on China’s trade violations could “start a trade war.”
In other findings:
- By 60 percent to 36 percent, voters believe the government should focus on job creation over reducing the federal deficit.
- A majority of voters (56 percent) no longer see the United States as having the world’s strongest economy.
- Fewer than 25 percent think anyone in Washington is doing a great deal to help enforce a level playing field for U.S. manufacturers.
- 88 percent of voters believe that it’s possible for America to have the strongest economy, and 92 percent believe that it is important for the United States to regain that position.
The bipartisan survey of 1,200 likely general election voters was conducted between June 28 and July 2 by the Mellman Group and North Star Opinion Research, firms that poll for Democratic and Republican candidates, respectively. The findings include results from six focus groups held in Columbus, Ohio; Orlando, Fla.; and Phoenix, as well as two dial tests in St. Louis and Vienna, Va., of manufacturing messages frequently presented to voters by the national media.