Fed Up With Wild-East China

Isaiah J. Poole

There’s more proof of the political potency of the “toxic trade” theme among voters in a poll just completed by Democracy Corps.

Asked to choose from a list of concerns about China, 52 percent of poll participants agreed with the statement that a “lack of safety regulations make Chinese products cheap but also unsafe for American consumers.”

Another 32 percent agreed with the statement that “China has turned into an economic power whose goods flood our markets and undermine American industries and jobs,” while 30 percent agreed with the comment that “China’s explosive, unregulated industrial expansion is contributing to pollution and global warming.”

Poll participants could choose two statements from a list of six. The other three statements were chosen by fewer than 25 percent of poll participants.

Voters sense what we are saying in our “Toxic Trade” report: We are importing too many goods from a country that has for the most part shown little regard for the health, safety, labor and environmental standards Americans have come to expect-while crippling the government’s ability to uphold those standards.

That poll of 993 participants on October 21-23 also offers strong signs that a progressive economic message resonates among the public, even at a time when voters are almost as disenchanted with the Democratic-led Congress as they are with President Bush and the Republican Party.

When given the choice of a rosy economic message along the lines of what the Republican presidential candidates have been using on the stump — that “we’re enjoying more than five years of successive economic growth thanks to the tax cuts that strengthened our economy” — and a message that says, “The economy may be working for the wealthiest one percent and CEOs, but not for the middle class. … We need an economy that works for everyone and makes America stronger,” more than twice as many people agreed with the second statement as the first.

Seventy percent of poll participants said that the nation was on “the wrong track,” 23 percent said it was headed in the right direction. When asked to choose from a list two reasons why the country was headed in the wrong direction, three of the top four answers related to themes we address in our “Economy for All” page. The percentages:



Our morals and family values are being eroded………. 43

Big businesses get whatever they want in Washington … 35

Our leaders have forgotten the middle class………… 33

America is doing nothing about our problems at home … 29

It is one more thing that makes me wonder how much more evidence elected officials need that a populist economic agenda is a political winner, because it’s what a majority of voters are hungry for?

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