America’s Rust Belt voters say Trump’s tariffs spell trouble

September 28, 2018

Voters in America’s struggling Rust Belt put their faith in Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential election—but they may refuse to rally around Republican candidates in the approaching midterms.

Indeed, a poll released on September 27 by Reuters/Ipsos and the University of Virginia Center for Politics has found that residents of America’s industrial heartland—Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin—are struggling with the after-effects of the Trump administration’s newly imposed tariffs.

Support for tariffs among likely voters—people who have been identified as most likely to take part in the upcoming election —varied from 33% in Pennsylvania to 38% in Michigan, Reuters announced. In all states, most voters were negative on tariffs, varying from 44% percent in Indiana to 50% in Wisconsin.

Trump’s tariffs on imported steel and aluminum have allowed U.S. producers to raise their prices, but hiked costs for manufacturers of cars and other goods. U.S. exporters are also facing retaliatory tariffs from China and others.

Trade and tariffs aren’t this powerfully positive issue for the president and Republicans; if anything they are viewed as counterproductive to the people and places that elected Trump,” said John Austin, Michigan-based Nonresident Brookings Institute Senior Fellow, based on the survey and anecdotal evidence.

On the presidential campaign trail, many Rust Belt voters cheered Trump’s criticism of international trade agreements as being bad for the United States. However, new deals have proven tough to strike.

Among Republican-voting respondents in the poll, only a little over half in some Rust Belt states thought tariffs were good for their families: 53% in Indiana and 51% in Pennsylvania. It was slightly more in Ohio at 57%t. Approval was higher in Michigan, at 59%; and in Wisconsin, at 60%.

A poll released on September 26 showed that a majority of likely voters in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan and Indiana disapprove of Trump.

Research contact: @Reuters 

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