Since Trump took office, Americans’ views of foreign trade have been more positive than ever previously recorded, with a record 72% last year seeing it as an opportunity for U.S. growth. That represented a 14-percentage-point increase from the prior highs measured in 2015 and 2016.
Over time, Americans’ views of trade have varied, with the public tending to be wary of trade at times when the economy was weaker. In 1992 and from 2005 through 2012, Americans were either divided on trade or tilted toward saying it represented a threat to the U.S. economy. During the mid-1990s through 2003 and from 2013 until now, when the economy was relatively healthy, the public has been more positive about trade.