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Trump’s Carrier Deal Is Mildly Popular

WASHINGTON ― Nearly half of Americans believe President-elect Donald Trump has already stopped U.S. jobs from being shipped abroad.

In a HuffPost/YouGov survey conducted after the announcement of the Carrier deal, 46 percent of Americans said that Trump has stopped some jobs from being offshored since the Nov. 8 election, while 24 percent said he has not. Another 29 percent weren’t sure.

Responses appeared to be largely driven by partisanship. Eighty-one percent of Americans who voted for Trump said that he’s managed to save jobs, but just 35 percent of those who backed Hillary Clinton said the same.

During the campaign, Trump repeatedly bashed Carrier for its plans to close a furnace factory in Indiana, lay off 1,400 workers and make the furnaces in Mexico instead. Trump promised to stop Carrier’s plan and said he would prevent companies from offshoring in general with the threat of a 35 percent tax. Last week, Carrier announced 800 jobs would remain in the U.S. thanks to a deal with Trump and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, Trump’s vice president-elect.

Americans remain overall somewhat dubious about Trump’s ability to combat outsourcing, and unsure about the steep tariffs he’s suggested would be part of his plan for doing so. Just about a third say they think the president-elect will mostly succeed in stopping companies from moving jobs abroad, while 30 percent think he’ll be unsuccessful and another 14 percent think he won’t even attempt to do so.

Nearly 4 in 10 say that they’re not sure whether the U.S. government should replace free trade agreements with taxes of up to 35 percent on goods imported from countries like China and Mexico. Thirty-three percent of people say they’d support such a policy, while 27 percent say they’d oppose it.

Other polls asking specifically about Carrier have delivered mixed results about the public’s reaction. A recent Morning Consult survey found that the deal left 60 percent of voters feeling more favorably toward Trump, while an Economist/YouGov poll found that just 38 percent of Americans approved of the deal.

Some of that difference likely comes down to how each of the questions was framed. The Morning Consult poll described the deal in broadly upbeat terms, telling voters that Carrier had “decided to keep roughly 1,000 manufacturing jobs in the state of Indiana rather than moving them to Mexico after forming an agreement with President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence.” The Economist/YouGov survey, in contrast, asked about “a deal Donald Trump negotiated with Carrier, an air conditioning equipment manufacturer, to reduce the number of jobs the company had planned to relocate from a plant in Indiana to Mexico.”

Notably, the Morning Consult survey also asks readers how the deal reflects on Trump, while the Economist/YouGov poll asks for opinions about the deal itself.

It’s not unusual for a survey question’s wording to have a significant effect on the results, especially when it involves news events that Americans may not have been following closely. But in this case, the variation underscores the importance of Trump’s showmanship in presenting the deal as a major personal coup.

As The Huffington Post’s Sam Stein has noted, President Barack Obama’s stimulus package also helped to rescue Indiana jobs, but garnered less political credit.

Trump has vowed to continue pressuring companies that plan to offshore jobs, both via his tariff threats and by making personal phone calls to CEOs.

The agreement with Carrier included $7 million worth of tax breaks from the state of Indiana, though there may have been a stick in addition to the carrot. Carrier’s parent company, United Technologies, earns billions from federal contracts that Trump could threaten to take away. The company said that it hoped the Trump administration would be more business-friendly, with lower taxes and fewer regulations.

Despite the deal, United Technologies is still planning to lay off 500 Carrier workers and 700 from another subsidiary in Indiana.

The issue of outsourcing remains a largely hypothetical problem for many Americans. Fourteen percent of those polled in the HuffPost/YouGov survey say that they or someone in their family has lost a job because it was moved overseas. Just 7 percent say that their community has been hit harder than the rest of the U.S. by outsourcing, with 34 percent saying it’s about as much of an issue in their community as it is in other places, and 28 percent saying it’s a smaller problem in their community than elsewhere.

Those who’ve been most directly affected are largely receptive to Trump’s message. Americans who say that they or a family member have seen their jobs offshored support his tariff proposal by about a 2-to-1 margin. Sixty-four percent of people in that group say Trump has already helped to keep some jobs in the U.S. 

The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted Dec. 1-2 among U.S. adults, using a sample selected from YouGov’s opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population.

The Huffington Post has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov’s nationally representative opinion polling. Data from all HuffPost/YouGov polls can be found here. More details on the polls’ methodology are available here.

Most surveys report a margin of error that represents some, but not all, potential survey errors. YouGov’s reports include a model-based margin of error, which rests on a specific set of statistical assumptions about the selected sample, rather than the standard methodology for random probability sampling. If these assumptions are wrong, the model-based margin of error may also be inaccurate. Click here for a more detailed explanation of the model-based margin of error.

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