WASHINGTON, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) -- Americans now hold a much more positive view of foreign trade than they have in recent years, with 57 percent surveyed saying that trade is an opportunity for economic growth through increased U.S. exports, according to a Gallup poll released on Thursday.
Comparatively, only 35 percent of Americans see foreign trade as a threat to the economy from increased foreign imports, the Feb. 7-10 poll found. In the prior two years, Americans were evenly divided in their opinions about foreign trade.
People with more formal education tend to view foreign trade more positively, as 69 percent of Americans with postgraduate education regard trade as more of an economic opportunity for the United States, while only 49 percent of those with high school education hold the same view.
There are also significant political differences, as 66 percent of Democrats, compared with 51 percent of Republicans, view trade as an opportunity for economic growth, Gallup said.
Over the years, the American public's view on foreign trade has shifted, usually in relation to the health of the economy. In 1992, when Gallup conducted the first poll on the public view of foreign trade, Americans were slightly more negative than positive toward trade as the economy was emerging from a recession at that time.
In 2008, when the latest recession started, a record high of 52 percent of Americans said that trade was more of a threat to the U. S. economy than an opportunity.
Americans now hold a positive view on foreign trade, apparently due to the improvement of the U.S. economy and Americans' rising economic confidence.
With Americans now positive toward foreign trade, the Obama administration "is likely operating in an environment more supportive of U.S. trade deals with other countries than has been the case in the recent past," Gallup said.
The Obama administration is currently pushing for an ambitious free-trade deal with the European Union, and continues to work toward a comprehensive trade agreement with Asia-Pacific nations, it noted.