Thursday, January 07, 2010

Poll: for Americans protecting jobs is highest foreign policy priority

From a list of 11 long-range foreign policy goals for the United States, which one do Americans rank as having the highest priority? A Pew Research Center poll just released has this significant pair of findings:

-- “Taking measures to protect the U.S. from terrorist attacks” has the highest rating: 98% of persons responding (85% “top priority,” 13% “some priority”).
-- Another goal, “protecting the jobs of American workers,” has exactly the same amount of support (85% top priority, 13% some).
Of the nine other listed goals, only “preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction” (with 94%) came close.

Oddly, pursuing free trade agreements was not on the prepared list of goals. Responses to other questions, however, showed continuing negative views of free trade agreements, because they

-- lower the wages of American workers (in the view of 49%).
-- lead to job losses in the U.S. (53%).
-- slow down the economy (42%)

The poll, on “America’s Place in the World 2009,” was conducted in cooperation with the Council on Foreign Relations. Public Citizen's “Eyes on Trade” points out:
“The survey also reveals quite a disconnect between the views of the foreign policy elite and the views of the public at large: 88 percent of the members of the Council on Foreign Relations believe that these trade agreements are a good thing for the United States, which is more than double the proportion of ordinary Americans who believe the same.

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