More than two-thirds of American voters want the U.S. to confront Beijing over its trade policies despite believing that they are suffering more from tariffs than China, a Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll survey released exclusively to The Hill found.
The poll showed 63 percent of registered voters said that tariffs imposed on Chinese products ultimately hurt the U.S. more than China, while 74 percent said that American consumers are shouldering most of the burden of those tariffs.
But 67 percent said that it is necessary to confront China over its trade practices, which President Trump and his allies have deemed unfair to the U.S.
“President Trump has the strong support of the American public when it comes to standing up to China,” Mark Penn, the co-director of the Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll, said. “They realize that the tariffs may have negative impacts on jobs and prices, but they believe the fight here is the right one.”
Trade tensions between the U.S. and China have worsened in recent weeks as negotiations between the two economic powerhouses stalled and as both countries have ramped up tariffs on one another’s goods.
Overall, Americans are split on the Trump administration’s tariffs. Fifty percent of respondents in the Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll survey said they disapprove of the current 25 percent tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods, while the other 50 percent said they approve of those measures.
The same goes for the Trump administration’s plans to impose an additional 10 percent in tariffs on $300 billion in Chinese goods. Fifty percent said they approve of that plan, while the other 50 percent disapprove, according to the survey.
There are few signs that tensions between the U.S. and China will ease soon. In a tweet on Tuesday morning, Trump insisted that the trade war would cost China businesses, jobs and money, and insisted that negotiations “would get MUCH TOUGHER” for China if he wins a second term in the White House in 2020.
A majority of voters say they expect negotiations over a trade deal to continue past next year’s presidential election. Fifty-three percent said that they do not think Trump will be able to sign a trade deal before Election Day in 2020, while 47 percent said they believe he will get it done, according to the Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll.
What’s more, most U.S. voters think a Democratic president would be either more effective or just as effective as Trump in confronting Beijing over its trade policies. Thirty-three percent said that a Democrat would be more effective, while 23 percent said they would be just as effective.
The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll surveyed 2,531 registered voters from Aug. 26-28. The poll is a collaboration of the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard University and The Harris Poll. The Hill will be working with Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll throughout 2019.
Full poll results will be posted online later this week. The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll survey is an online sample drawn from the Harris Panel and weighted to reflect known demographics. As a representative online sample, it does not report a probability confidence interval.