President Donald Trump’s trade war with China has roiled businesses across the United States — and new polling shows that confidence in Trump’s ability to make good deals is collapsing.
As CNN polling analyst Harry Enten writes, Trump’s trade policies have not moved his overall approval rating numbers in any direction one way or the other, and have harmed his reputation as a world-class deal maker.
“After the 2016 election, Americans had a lot of hope about what Trump could do for trade policy,” Enten argues. “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.”
Additionally, Enten cites polling showing that Trump gets poor marks for his handling of his relationship with China and that Americans’ overall views of international trade have markedly improved since Trump’s election.
Enten concludes his analysis with a stark warning about what this means for the president’s reelection chances in 2020.
“This isn’t 2016 or even 2017 anymore,” he writes. “Americans don’t believe Trump has the magic touch on trade and have moved against his worldview on trade. His trade policies don’t look like they’re going to pull him to re-election.”