Canadians Unprepared for a Potential Trump Exit from NAFTA

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January 12, 2018 — Just 14% of Canadians expect NAFTA to be cancelled, despite rampant speculation in political circles and the editorial pages that President Donald Trump will do exactly that.  On the other hand, just 8% expect the current NAFTA deal will emerge unchanged.

A majority (52%) expect a new deal – although that majority is split down the middle over whether it will be generally fair to all three countries (25%) or overly favourable to the U.S. (27%). A quarter (26%) are not sure of what to expect of the trade talks.

A similar proportion (23%) is not sure whether the current NAFTA deal has been good or bad for Canada. But three times more Canadians feel NAFTA has been good for Canada (46%) than bad (14%).

These are the results from a new national survey conducted by Pollara Strategic Insights. The online survey was conducted from December 11 to 18, 2017 among a random sample of 1,207 adult Canadians.  As a guideline, a probability sample of this size carries a margin of error of ±2.8%, 19 times out of 20.  The margin of error is larger for sub-segments.

Canadians do not want the Trudeau Government to make a new NAFTA deal at any cost.  A majority (54%) prefer to make a deal only with moderate or minor concessions to the U.S., with just one-in-ten (11%) willing to make a deal that delivers major concessions to the U.S.

More Canadians (45%) approve of the Trudeau Government’s job performance on this file, with only a quarter (27%) expressing disapproval – although approval is higher in Ontario (47%), Quebec (50%), and Atlantic Canada (50%) than in Alberta (33%), Saskatchewan (37%), Manitoba (40%) and BC (42%)

About a quarter (28%) of Canadians are unsure, which is a consistent finding in most surveys on trade agreements – as about a quarter of the public appears largely unengaged in these matters.

Read Pollara’s Report on Canadian Views on NAFTA

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