U.S., Canada Relations Loom Large in the Wake of the G7 Summit

Most Americans and Canadians support participation in NAFTA; Canadians see more benefit for their country

The author(s)
  • Chris Jackson Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs
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Ipsos’s Cliff Young discusses these survey finding on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, Saturday, June 16, 2018.

Washington, DC, June 16, 2018 — This year’s G7 summit saw contentious debate regarding international trade agreements among historically close allies. As world leaders debated tariff imposition and a potential renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Ipsos examined the public perception of the agreement and the movements at the summit. 

NAFTA was signed into agreement at the beginning of 1994. Today, the majority of Americans (72%) report support for the United States’ participation in the agreement, including 85% of Democrats, 61% of Republicans, and 64% of Independents. Among Canadians, support is even stronger (85%). Although the majority of Americans support U.S. participation in NAFTA, there is discourse on whether the U.S. has benefitted from the agreement over the last 24 years. In total, 43% of Americans agree that NAFTA has benefited the U.S. A majority of Democratic respondents (62%) believe NAFTA is beneficial, while just 26% of Republicans believe the deal was good for the U.S. In comparison, a majority of Canadians (54%) say the agreement has been beneficial for their country. 

As the countries prepare for renegotiation, equal numbers of Americans and Canadians (44%) believe renegotiation will be a good thing for their respective countries. In the U.S., however, there is once again a partisan split in opinion. Most Republicans (73%) are optimistic about the outcomes from renegotiation, compared to just 3 in 10 Democrats (29%).  

One of the biggest news stories of the summit stemmed from the icy exchange between President Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Trudeau claimed that the U.S. tariffs imposed against Canadian steel and aluminum were insulting, prompting Trump to respond by calling Trudeau dishonest and weak. In the wake of this exchange, 81% of Canadians and 71% of Americans worry that the situation has damaged the relationship between the two allies. 

Canada responded to American tariffs with their own, but Americans report an unwillingness to escalate against Canadian retaliation. When asked if the U.S. should respond to Canadian tariffs with even stronger tariffs, just 31% agree with this proposed action. This is one of the largest differences between the American and Canadian publics; in Canada, more than three-quarters (79%) would support retaliatory tariffs in response to U.S.-imposed tariffs. Seven in 10 Canadians say they will start to look at where products are made and avoid U.S.-made products, where possible. Americans are less boycott-minded; just 31% report they will try to avoid purchasing Canadian-made products. Rather than escalate the situation, it appears that Americans are generally in favor of stepping away from recent White House actions. Sixty-one percent of Americans agree that other American elected officials should denounce President Trump’s statements. 

About the Study

These are findings from an Ipsos poll conducted June 13-14, 2018. For the survey, a sample of roughly 1,005 adults age 18+ from the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii were interviewed online in English. The sample includes 368 Democrats, 305 Republicans, and 202 Independents. A parallel study was conducted in Canada at the same time and included a sample of roughly 1,001 Canadian adults. 

The sample for this study was randomly drawn from Ipsos’s online panel (see link below for more info on “Access Panels and Recruitment”), partner online panel sources, and “river” sampling (see link below for more info on the Ipsos “Ampario Overview” sample method) and does not rely on a population frame in the traditional sense. Ipsos uses fixed sample targets, unique to each study, in drawing sample. After a sample has been obtained from the Ipsos panel, Ipsos calibrates respondent characteristics to be representative of the U.S. Population using standard procedures such as raking-ratio adjustments. The source of these population targets is U.S. Census 2016 American Community Survey data. The sample drawn for this study reflects fixed sample targets on demographics. Post-hoc weights were made to the population characteristics on gender, age, race/ethnicity, region, and education. 

Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online nonprobability sampling polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. Where figures do not sum to 100, this is due to the effects of rounding. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points for all respondents. Ipsos calculates a design effect (DEFF) for each study based on the variation of the weights, following the formula of Kish (1965). This study had a credibility interval adjusted for design effect of the following (n=1,005, DEFF=1.5, adjusted Confidence Interval=5.0). 

The poll also has a credibility interval plus or minus 5.8 percentage points for Democrats, 6.4 percentage points for Republicans, and 7.9 percentage points for Independents.

For more information about conducting research intended for public release or Ipsos’ online polling methodology, please visit our Public Opinion Polling and Communication page where you can  download our brochure, see our public release protocol, or 
contact us.

For more information on this news release, please contact:
Chris Jackson
Vice President, U.S.
Ipsos Public Affairs
+1 202 420-2025
[email protected]

Mallory Newall
Director, U.S.
Ipsos Public Affairs
+1 202 420-2014
[email protected]   

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The author(s)
  • Chris Jackson Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs