Voters Favor National Strategy to Restore U.S. Manufacturing Jobs

PITTSBURGH, July 16, 2012 — (PRNewswire) — Leo W. Gerard, president of the United Steelworkers (USW) said a new national opinion poll released today highlights election year voter concerns over the need for concrete and comprehensive action on policies that support manufacturing jobs and fair trade.

"We've seen prior polls all showing strong support for manufacturing jobs policies, but this election year poll makes it clear that voters want more than talk," Gerard said. "Voters declare they are demanding aggressive action to help manufacturing as the 'irreplaceable core of a strong economy.'"

He said the poll should be used as a roadmap on priorities for creating jobs and improving the economy. "A majority of Americans correctly rate manufacturing as the industry most important to the overall strength of the nation."

Gerard said the poll confirms: "Support by voters is overwhelming for proposals to end policies that encourage outsourcing, to standup for tougher trade enforcement, Buy American, employment retraining, and incentives for investments in U.S. infrastructure."

A majority of voters – 56 percent –  no longer see the U.S. as having the world's strongest economy, and fewer than 25 percent think anyone in Washington is doing a great deal to help enforce a level playing field for American manufacturing. However, 88 percent of voters believe that it's possible for America to have the strongest economy, and 92 percent believe that it is important for the U.S. to regain that position.

When it comes to trade with China, the poll found that voters emphatically support tough action on Beijing's cheating on currency and other trade obligations.

"American voters want trade laws to be fully enforced and dismiss those voicing claims of a trade war and other consequences of strong action fighting for fair trade," Gerard said of the poll findings.

The Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) commissioned the national poll for the third straight year, with each showing an increase in recognition of manufacturing as the "irreplaceable core of a strong economy."

The bipartisan survey of 1,200 likely general election voters was conducted Jun. 28 to Jul. 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, OH; Orlando, FL; and Phoenix, AZ, as well as two dial tests in St. Louis, MO and Vienna, VA of manufacturing messages frequently presented to voters by the national media.

In the focus groups, voters were stunned to learn that steel production for the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge had been outsourced to China. When presented with proposals to enact strong Buy American provisions for such public works, overwhelming majorities of Republicans (87 percent), Democratic (91 percent), and Independent (87 percent) voters were in favor. Even when presented with arguments from critics of Buy American about allegedly higher costs and increased taxes, voters supported Buy American policies by a wide margin.

When it comes to outsourcing and China's cheating, more than two-thirds of respondents said that China's violations of international trade rules were costing the U.S. jobs, and nearly as many (62 percent) said Washington needs to get tougher on China's cheating.

Voters of all affiliations overwhelmingly support getting tough with China, even when posed with the argument that getting tougher on China's trade violations could "start a trade war." Fully 83 percent of those surveyed also had an unfavorable view of companies that outsource jobs to China. In contrast, voters maintain extremely favorable views of goods manufactured in the U.S. (97 percent).

Gerard points out: "The Chinese have been waging war on American workers through unfair and predatory trade practices for years. It's time policy makers listened and fought for their constituents' jobs and future."

The survey also explored the Obama Administration's decision to rescue the U.S. auto industry. A majority, 57 percent, thought the quality of cars produced by the U.S. auto industry has improved. On the decision to rescue the industry, when presented with arguments for and against saving the U.S. auto industry, a significant majority of those polled (61 percent) support the government's action. This support was found to be strong across 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 Scott Paul, Executive Director of the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM), the group that commissioned the poll.

A detailed presentation of the polling results is available on the AAM website at:

Contact: Gary Hubbard, 202-778-4384; 202-256-8125, Email Contact

SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)

United Steelworkers (USW)

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