Saturday, March 3, 2018


A lot of the coverage of Donald Trump's decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum has talked about how this is a departure from the traditional Republican position.  For example, this story in the New York Times says  "Mr. Trump has strayed from the party’s traditional orthodoxy of embracing free and open markets," quotes Republican senators Orrin Hatch and Ben Sasse with critical remarks, and then Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) with a positive comment.  I've said it before, but it's worth saying again:  support for free trade is not a traditional Republican or conservative position.  For example, a 2008 Fortune/Abt SRBI poll asked people how they felt about a proposal to "Place high tariffs on goods coming from countries that produce low-priced goods so that American companies can compete with them."  60% of conservatives, 64% of moderates, and 57% of liberals said they were strongly or somewhat in favor.  The breakdown by party ID:  64% of Republicans, 59% of Democrats, and 66% of independents in favor.  That is, partisanship and ideology made little if any difference.

Education mattered:  68% of people with no college were in favor, compared to 52% of college graduates.  So did gender:  68% of women and 54% of men were in favor.   However, as I observed in my previous post, tariffs are pretty popular with all segments of the general public.  The groups that are strongly against them are elites, or more exactly professional and diplomatic elites, and people who listen to those elit

[Data from the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research]

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