November 23, 2018 — Our latest poll for Maclean’s – and our third survey on the NAFTA negotiations and resulting USMCA free trade agreement – reveals that a majority of Canadians who hold an opinion on the subject have positive views of the USMCA deal and the Trudeau Government’s handling of the NAFTA negotiations with the Trump Administration.

A four-in-ten plurality (42%) of Canadians approve of the new USMCA free trade agreement, whereas just over a third (36%) disapprove. However, among those holding an opinion about the deal, a majority (54%) express approval.

  • About two-in-ten (22%) either do not have an opinion or are unsure. This is consistent with our previous waves of research on the NAFTA negotiations as well as most public opinion research on free trade deals and foreign policy matters, wherein 20-25% of the public tends to answer Don’t Know/Unsure to these questions, likely reflecting a lower level of public engagement or comfort with this subject matter.

Almost half (46%) of Canadians feel USMCA will be good (30%) or a mix of good and bad (16%) for Canada. Among those holding an opinion on this front, 55% feel it will be good (36%) or both good and bad (19%) for the country.

  • Canadians hold somewhat lower expectations of the deal’s impact upon their province, with 40% expecting it will be good (27%) or a mix of good and bad (13%) for their province.
  • Almost half (45%) of Canadians feel the deal will be good (35%) or good and bad (10%) for Mexico.
  • Three-quarters (75%) feel the deal will be good (69%) or good and bad (6%) for the U.S.

Nearly half (47%) of Canadians – and 54% of those with an opinion – approve of the job the Trudeau Government did in the NAFTA/USMCA negotiations. Four-in-ten (39%) disapprove, and 14% are unsure.

A plurality (39%) of Canadians – and 49% of those with an opinion – feel that the Trudeau Government got the best possible deal, whereas 31% feel they should have continued negotiating for a better deal. Another 10% were opposed to any free trade agreement, and 20% are unsure.

  • Regionally speaking, positive assessments of the deal and the government’s performance are most likely to be found in Ontario, BC, and Atlantic Canada, followed by Alberta. Negative assessments are most likely to be found in Quebec, whereas middling sentiment is found in Manitoba/Saskatchewan.

See the full details in our report and associated data tables, as well as further perspective via John Geddes’ article in Maclean’s.

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