Plurality of voters say Trump's China trade policies bad for Michigan

Keith Laing
The Detroit News
FILE - In this Nov. 9, 2017, file photo, U.S. President Donald Trump, right, chats with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. The United States and China are scheduled Thursday, May 9, 2019, to resume talks to try to back off an escalating trade war. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)

A plurality of Michigan voters says President Donald Trump’s policy of slapping tariffs on Chinese goods is bad for Michigan, according to a new poll released to The Detroit News and WDIV. 

The poll showed 47% of likely voters opposed the president's trade strategy with China. The same percentage of Metro Detroit voters also called Trump's tariff-heavy strategy bad for Michigan.


The May 28-30 survey of 600 likely Michigan voters conducted by the Lansing-based Glengariff Group had a margin of error of plus-minus 4 percentage points.

More: Poll shows Biden, Sanders, Buttigieg, Warren, Harris outperform Trump.

More In poll, 47% of Mich. voters oppose Trump China policy, tariffs

Among independent voters, 44% say the president's Chinese trade strategy hurts Michigan. Among union households, opposition rises to 55% percent. 

The Republican Party used to be the party of free trade, but Trump's ascendancy has changed the situation so the GOP is now "leading the argument ... that this trade war with China is good for Michigan," said Richard Czuba, who conducted the poll for Glengariff.

But "independents … they’re 2-1 against this trade policy," he said. "They think it’s bad for Michigan." 

Trump has increased tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods from 10% to 25% beginning on June 1, and he has threatened to increase levies on another $325 billion worth goods from the country. China has countered with tariffs on $60 billion worth of additional goods in retaliation for levies imposed by the Trump administration.

Michigan farmers who produce goods ranging from pork to soybeans to milk have said the trade war with China has been costly.

The president has defended his use of tariffs in negotiations with China as effort to address years of unfair trade practices and protect U.S. companies. 

"China is subsidizing its product in order that it can continue to be sold in the USA," he tweeted on Monday. "Many firms are leaving China for other countries, including the United States, in order to avoid paying the Tariffs. No visible increase in costs or inflation, but U.S. is taking Billions!"

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