As negotiators continue attempts to rework the NAFTA agreement, a new Ipsos poll shows Canadians and Mexicans have a much higher opinion of the trade deal than their American counterparts.
Respondents were asked whether they believed free trade helped or hurt their country.
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Only 39 per cent of American respondents believe it helped their country, as opposed to 57 per cent of Canadians and 59 per cent of Mexicans.
“Canadians, generally speaking, are pretty happy with it,” Darrell Bricker, CEO of Ipsos Public Affairs, said. “They think that their government is going to do a pretty good job of negotiating on it.”
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Only 40 per cent of Mexican respondents were confident in their government’s ability to negotiate the trade deal, according to the Ipsos poll results. Fifty per cent of Americans believe the Trump Administration would renegotiate the deal in their nation’s best interests versus 59 per cent of Canadians.
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Bricker warns that maybe fool’s gold for the Trudeau Government.
“The problem is, if there are dramatic changes that come through and the Government of Canada is unsuccessful in negotiating something that looks good – of the three governments – they are the ones that probably will, in political terms, look like they could suffer the most,” Bricker warned.
While Canadians and Mexicans believe NAFTA helped their country, respondents from both countries believe the United States has benefited the most from the trade agreement.
Just six per cent of Canadian respondents believe that Canada was the major benefactor of NAFTA whereas 16 per cent thought it was Mexico that was the main beneficiary and a whopping 35 per cent believed the U.S. is finishing ahead.
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Meanwhile, Canada almost seems like an afterthought to people from the other two countries.
Just three per cent of American respondents believe Canada has benefitted most from NAFTA while that number goes up to just 5 per cent the further south you go.
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Naturally, American respondents (35 per cent) believe Mexico has been benefitted most while 64 per cent of Mexicans believe the U.S. has come out ahead.
While Trump has been keen to renegotiate the deal, his electorate is not quite as excited.
Only 48 per cent of U.S respondents believe the deal should be renegotiated.
“It’s not like there is a white-hot anger, it’s kind of a ‘meh,’” Bricker said.
Bricker has been in the polling business for over 20 years. He said the number of Canadians who support NAFTA is one of the biggest changes of opinion he has ever seen.
“Canadians support for NAFTA today is actually one of the things that has changed the most in Canadian public opinion over the last 20 years,” he said. “In the early ‘90s, it would be tough to get support for free trade over 30 per cent.”
These are some of the findings of the Ipsos poll conducted on September 12 and September 14, 2017. For this survey, a sample of 1,001 Canadians, 400 Mexicans and 1,0008 Americans aged 18+ from Ipsos’ online panel was interviewed online. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ±3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadian adults been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.
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