Poll: Americans Support Immigration, Free Trade at Record Levels

Shift in Opinion Seen as a Backlash Against President Trump

A new WSJ/NBC poll is showing a significant shift in the American public’s attitude toward immigration and free trade, showing record levels of support for both. 60% of Americans are now favorable toward immigration, and the public is split 37% to 37% on freedom of trade.

The shifts are both significant, and both opposite to the position of President Trump, which is fueling speculation that the record numbers reflect opponents of Trump increasingly taking up positions in contradiction to his, and a backlash against his efforts to seriously curtail both.

President Trump made immigration and trade key aspects of his campaign, and since taking office has tried repeatedly to ban immigration from multiple countries, while pushing an attempt to build a massive border wall on the Mexican border. In the meantime, he has talked up opposition to trade deals, presenting trade as in opposition to jobs.

The poll showed some of the shift even stronger along party lines, with support for free trade spiking among Democrats, while it actually fell slightly among Republicans. On the other hand, pro-immigration positions grew roughly at the same rate for both parties, while surging most among independents.

What this all will mean for the Trump Administration in the long run is unclear, but hostility to all things foreign was a bread and butter issue for the president in 2016, and are probably too deeply seated in his policy and branding to really back away from.

Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.

  • survivor


  • If a “backlash against Trump” is what it takes for baseline morality and plain common sense (both expressed as the novel theory that other people aren’t your property) to prevail, so be it.

    • supremeborg

      And it’s about time. Nobody has the right to control who I associate with, and who I don’t associate with. The government doing violence against me, to make it so I cannot either rent a room to, or to employ, an “illegal” immigrant, has elements of both fascism and socialism at its root. Give me liberty, or give me death!

  • Donatella

    As usual, the calculated misuse of the term “immigration” will lead to the results the globalists want. Of course most people are for immigration, our country was built on it. However, I suspect that “massive illegal immigration” will receive quite a different response from the public. Although for different reasons, the globalists elite in both parties support the illegal immigration into the U.S.

    • Tecumseh1768

      Makes sense. I didn’t think people would voice their displeasure with Trump by throwing themselves into unemployment.

      • Eileen Kuch

        Nor did I. I never thought people would be so stupid as to voice their displeasure with Trump by tossing themselves into unemployment. There were other ways to voice displeasure, and I’m sure a lot of people did just that, with anti-Trump protests nationwide. I doubt very much they’d support Obama’s policies on immigration and trade that would cost them their jobs. One would think they’d at least try to protect their jobs.
        As far as illegal immigration and allowing unvetted Muslim immigration’s concerned, more than half the population’s against it, especially, those who get their news from the web. Those who support illegal immigration and allowing unvetted Muslim immigration are either snowflakes (who support everything insane) or dummies who swallow all the MSM bs.

        • Those who support immigration freedom support immigration freedom because we support freedom. Police states suck.

          • supremeborg

            “Those who support immigration freedom support immigration freedom because we support freedom. Police states suck.”

            Indeed. Here is just an example: The major reasons given for proposals to create a mandatory national ID card, all deal with trying to control “illegal” immigration. Fascism will come from efforts to put legal restrictions on immigration. The only other reasons which are even close are the war on drugs, and terrorism.

    • dieter heymann

      Free trade is a form of economic piracy. The buccaneers with the biggest cannons will always win.
      Nations have repeatedly gone to lengthy wars for free trade and will do so again. Textbook example: the Republic of Venice.
      There has never been and there never will be gentlemanly/gentlewomanly behavior under free trade.

      • supremeborg

        “Nations have repeatedly gone to lengthy wars for free trade and will do so again.”

        You’ve got to be kidding. Protectionism is a major cause of war, NOT free trade.

        “When goods don’t cross borders, soldiers will.”

        — Frederic Bastiat

      • Donatella

        Fair enough. As the Greek philosopher said “the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.” It was valid in 400 B.C. and is still valid today, no doubt about that.

        However, in the past it was about actual trade of goods. Now, it’s preserving monopolies for global corporations that have no state loyalty and bypassing the sovereign state laws by agreeing to judicial tribunals manned by corporate lawyers.

      • “There has never been and there never will be gentlemanly/gentlewomanly behavior under free trade.”

        True. Another way of putting that is “regulation of trade is required to maintain a class-stratified society. Free trade equalizes people instead of separating them into “gentlemen/gentlewomen” on top and mere proles on bottom.

  • dieter heymann

    The Trump administration is reportedly considering a withdrawal from NAFTA. NAFTA is a treaty ratified by the US Senate 61-38. However as is the case with many treaties parties can withdraw. Here is the specific language of NAFTA: “Article 2205: Withdrawal. A Party may withdraw from this Agreement six months after it provides written notice of withdrawal to the other Parties. If a Party withdraws, the Agreement shall remain in force for the remaining Parties”.
    A notice of withdrawal can be initiated and sent by the president alone. A Senate vote is not needed. Nevertheless it would be wise to consult with Senate leaders before withdrawal. Some left-leaning Senators such as Sanders may actually support the end of NAFTA.