Public opinion on trade: Who knows?

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A recent Pew poll has some odd results. “Trade agreements” are now  popular (44% to 35%), whereas last year, 48% were agaist them (while 35% favored).

Pew reports, support for free trade diminishes when the questioner specifically mentions the words “Nafta” (North American Free Trade Agreement) and “World Trade Organization” in the telephone interview. When the question was asked without the offending words, those polled backed the free-trade deals by a 52% to 34% margin.

It’d be nice to separately assess the effects of mentioning NAFTA or the WTO. Have economists convinced the general public to favor trade (agreements) in the abstract, but people dislike them in practice?

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