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'Made in America' Gets Strong Backing from Voters

July 16, 2012
New poll shows Americans back manufacturing but don't rate Washington efforts to support it very highly.

Listen up, Ralph Lauren. A survey of 1,200 Americans shows that 97% have a favorable view of goods manufactured in the United States. Moreover, there is a high level of support across the electorate for strong Buy America programs for public works.

Republicans (87%), Democrats (91%) and independents (87%) all favor Buy America policies, according to the survey released Monday by the Alliance of American Manufacturing.Even when presented with arguments from critics of Buy American about higher costs and increased taxes, voters supported Buy American policies by a wide margin.

The survey found that 53% of voters rate manufacturing as the industry "most important to the overall strength of the American economy."

“It’s striking how clearly voters—Republican and Democrat alike—see strengthening manufacturing as the key to rebuilding the U.S. economy,” said Scott Paul, AAM's executive director.

Voters put creating jobs, specifically in manufacturing, and strengthening manufacturing in the U.S., as top economic priorities, according to the poll and focus groups conducted by a bipartisan team of Republican and Democratic pollsters.
The AAM survey found that a 56% of voters no longer see the U.S. as having the world’s strongest economy. Of those polled, 38% rated the United States as having the strongest economy, while 31% put China at the top. Germany was named by 4% and Japan by 2%.

Despite this finding, 88% of voters said they believe it’s possible for America to have the strongest economy, and 92% believe it is important for the United States to regain that position.

Public Supports Tough Stance with China

When it comes to trade with China, two-thirds of those polled said they think China's violations of international trade rules are costing the U.S. jobs. Some 62% of voters favor getting tough on China's trade violations and 83% have an unfavorable view of companies that outsource jobs to China.
“These findings make clear that a strong majority of voters believe Washington should stand up to China’s unfair trade practices, and that there is overwhelming support for a national strategy to restore U.S. leadership in manufacturing,” Paul said.
AAM said overwhelming majorities of independent, Republican, and Democratic voters expressed strong support for “a national manufacturing strategy to make sure that economic, tax, education, and trade policies in this country work together to help support manufacturing in the United States.”

Those polled had a 97% favorable view of goods manufactured in the United States. Paul noted that a favorable impression of U.S. manufacturing has been increasing in the three years AAM has commissioned a national poll. As evidence of that, 57% of the respondents said the quality of cars produced by the U.S. auto industry has improved.
The survey also explored the Obama Administration’s decision to rescue the U.S. auto industry. When presented with arguments for and against saving the U.S. auto industry, a significant majority of those polled (61%) support the government’s action.  This support was found to be strong in all regions of the country, not just in the Midwest.
“This survey leaves little doubt that voters understand that U.S. manufacturing is the nation’s most powerful engine of job growth and that they want more urgent action taken to address trade violations and halt outsourcing that is sapping our global standing and future security,” said Paul.  “Voters across the political spectrum do not believe that any of our national leaders are doing a great deal to boost manufacturing or to stop outsourcing.  Candidates would be well advised to heed this message.”

The survey of 1,200 likely general election voters was conducted between June 28 and July 2 by the Mellman Group and North Star Opinion Research, firms that poll for Democratic and Republican candidates respectively.  The findings include results from six focus groups held in Columbus, Ohio, Orlando, Fla., and Phoenix, Ariz., as well as two dial tests in St. Louis, Mo. and Vienna, Va. of manufacturing messages frequently presented to voters by the national media.

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