Exclusive poll: Americans want new NAFTA deal, but not without Canada

Data: Survey Monkey online poll conducted August 28-30, 2018 among 2,433 U.S. adults. Total margin of error is ±3.0 percentage points. Modeled error estimates: African-American women ±7.0, age 18 to 34 ±4.5, suburan white women ±5.0, “Never Hillary” Independent voters ±8.0, Rural voters ±4.0; Poll methodology; Chart: Harry Stevens/Axios

Americans are narrowly in favor of President Trump’s renegotiation of NAFTA, but the balance swings the other way when it comes to moving ahead on a deal that excludes Canada, according to a new Axios/SurveyMonkey poll.

The big picture: Approval of Trump’s approach to trade almost exactly matches his overall approval rating, with 44% in favor and 53% opposed. As with every aspect of the Trump presidency, there is a sharp partisan divide. It’s particularly notable in this case — Trump has turned a party that once swore by “free trade” into a pro-tariff bloc.

By the numbers:

  • Half of Americans support Trump's proposed NAFTA replacement, while 45% oppose it.
  • But 49% oppose going ahead with it if Canada doesn't sign on, while 46% support it.
  • Republican support for Trump's trade policy is hardening, with 60% now strongly in favor of it, compared to 52% in an NBC/SurveyMonkey poll in July.
  • Most of the key voter groups Axios is tracking ahead of the midterms report nearly identical approval ratings for Trump's trade policy and his job performance. African American women are the exception: more approve of Trump on trade (18%) than overall (13%).
  • Eight out of 10 Republicans say Trump should be willing to move ahead on NAFTA without Canada, compared to just 19% of Democrats.

Worth noting: Details are relatively scarce on the "understanding" Trump announced with Mexico, so the responses may indicate more about respondents' feelings toward NAFTA and Trump's plan to renegotiate it, rather than the contents of the actual deal.

The latest: Trump announced a preliminary agreement with Mexico on Monday, but missed a deadline Friday to bring Canada into the fold. He has since tweeted: “If we don’t make a fair deal for the U.S. after decades of abuse, Canada will be out.”

Legal hurdles and opposition in Congress make a U.S.-Mexico replacement for NAFTA unlikely. Negotiations with Canada are set to resume on Wednesday.

Methodology: This analysis is based on SurveyMonkey online surveys conducted August 28-30, 2018 among 2,433 adults in the United States. The modeled error estimate  for the full sample is plus or minus 3.0 percentage points. Sample sizes and modeled error estimates for the subgroups are as follows:

African-American Women (n=135, +/- 7), Millennials Age 18 - 34  (n=460, +/- 4.5), White Suburban Women  (n=505 , +/- 5), NeverHillary/Independent voters  (n= 161, +/- 8), Rural  (n= 564, +/- 4). Respondents for this survey were selected from the more than 2 million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day. More information about our methodology here. Crosstabs available here.