After the 2016 election, Americans had a lot of hope about what Trump could do for trade policy. According to a December 2016 Fox News poll, 62% said Trump would “truly revise trade deals” with other countries to make them better for America. A minority (31%) disagreed. By December 2018, after renegotiating NAFTA, withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and adding a number of tariffs, only 40% said Trump had negotiated better trade deals. A plurality (47%) said he had not. In other words, Americans don’t trust like they once did on trade.
Americans are also far less likely to view Trump favorably in Quinnipiac University polling released last week when it comes to how he’s handling relations with China. That may have to do with his recent ramping up of a trade war with China. His net approval (approval – disapproval) on how he deals with China has dropped from +8 points in April 2017 to -10 points now. Notably, this is still a better net approval than Quinnipiac University has generally shown for the President overall. Indeed, Trump’s approval ratings on trade continue to somewhat better than his overall approval rating. Still, his ratings on trade-related issues have turned clearly negative.