A new poll of more than 1,500 Americans puts Canada on top of the pile when it comes to countries Americans want their new government to approach in a “friendly way.”
It also found that Canada is viewed much more positively than America’s other partner in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Mexico.
80% of those polled say the Trump administration should approach Canada “as a valued partner and ally.”
Conducted by the Angus Reid Institute, the poll also found that Americans are considerably more skeptical about their southern neighbour, however.
Fewer than 17% say the new US government should view Mexico as a valued partner, though only 12% say Mexico should be considered either an enemy or a potential threat.
The NAFTA question
Americans largely see their trade relationship with Canada as benefitting both countries roughly equally (77% say this), while many the see trade with Mexico as benefitting that country disproportionately in comparison to their own country.
The belief that Mexico benefits more from trade with the US than the US does is driven in large part by those who supported Trump last November. Almost two-thirds of this group (65%) says trade with Mexico “benefits them” – more than twice the number of Clinton supporters who say the same.
American public opinion is generally “lukewarm” when it comes to NAFTA and how the incoming Trump administration should approach this trade agreement,” a release from Angus Reid said.
Overall, 45% of Americans say the US should “carry on with the current approach”, but large numbers opt for “decreasing the US commitment” (24%) or moving “to take the US out of it entirely” (18%).
Among those who helped deliver Trump to the presidency, 63% would like to see the new government either reduce the American commitment to NAFTA or abandon the agreement altogether (32% and 31% respectively).
Most of those who supported Clinton, meanwhile, would prefer to see the US carry on with the current approach to the trade agreement:
This political divide on views of NAFTA could be seen in the fall of 2016, when the Angus Reid Institute’s American Voter Survey showed polar-opposite perspectives: Trump supporters saw NAFTA as hurting rather than helping the US by a two-to-one margin while Clinton supporters were equally convinced the opposite was true.
What about NATO?
Asked how they think the Trump administration should approach NATO, 58% of Americans opt for the US to “carry on with the current approach” towards the alliance.
However, views on this question vary substantially across the American political divide, with Trump supporters more tepid on the alliance, and Clinton supporters more supportive of it.