Americans are narrowly in favor of President Trump’s renegotiation of NAFTA (50% approve, 45% oppose) but the balance swings the other way when it comes to moving ahead on a deal that excludes Canada, with 49% opposed and 46% in favor.
The bigger picture: Approval of Trump’s approach to trade almost exactly matches his overall approval rating according to a new Axios/Survey Monkey poll, with 44% in favor and 53% opposed. It has held steady since July, though Republican support is hardening in favor (60% now strongly approve, up from 52%).
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.
- 80% of Republicans say Trump should be willing to move ahead on NAFTA without Canada, compared to just 19% of Democrats.
- That tracks with a recent Axios/Survey Monkey poll which asked voters whether they were more worried about the U.S. being pushed around by other countries or abandoning its allies. 75% of Republicans chose the former and 89% of Democrats the latter.
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.