New national poll sends clear message to Congress:

Americans oppose CAFTA trade agreement announced the results of a research survey that shows 51% of Americans across all political parties oppose the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). CAFTA’s model, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), was also soundly rejected by a majority of Americans. Voters were primarily concerned with the negative impact CAFTA will have on the American economy along with possible significant job losses.

“The survey clearly shows that a strong majority of Democrats and Independents and almost half of all Republicans oppose CAFTA. These results should send a powerful message to Congress that their constituents will choose their farms and jobs over another flawed trade deal,” said Ernest Baynard, Executive Director of “The survey also shows that Americans are all too familiar with the failed promises and negative impact of NAFTA—CAFTA’s older brother—and are rightfully wary of more of the same.”

The survey found that 51% oppose the CAFTA trade agreement altogether and only 32% support it. Anti-CAFTA sentiment crosses party lines, with Republicans (47 to 37%) joining Democrats (53 to 31%) and Independents (53 to 32%) in opposition to the agreement. Overall opposition to CAFTA is stronger in red states (53 to 31%) than in blue states (48 to 34%).

The loss of jobs was of greatest concern to American voters. An overwhelming 74% opposed CAFTA when asked if they would favor or oppose the agreement if it reduced consumer prices but caused job losses. Of those who directly opposed CAFTA, more than half cited the threat to the US economy and jobs as their primary concern (52%).

NAFTA destroyed an estimated 880,000 jobs, according to the Economic Policy Institute. In a recent study, the United States International Trade Commission found that the CAFTA will cause significant job losses across many sectors in the US if the agreement is implemented.

While a plurality of Hispanic voters initially support CAFTA (44 to 39%), they are more likely to change their opinion about the deal after hearing a series of positive and negative statements about it, ultimately opposing CAFTA by a 47 to 40% margin. As with voters overall, loss of American jobs is a significant concern to Hispanic voters.

When presented with various pro and con arguments about CAFTA, American voters expressed serious concerns with many of the trade agreement’s shortcomings, including:

o 69% of voters said that CAFTA’s lack of requirements for Central American countries to protect the environment and restrict child labor makes them less likely to support the deal;

o 56% of voters said that CAFTA’s negative effect on US sovereignty, by allowing foreign corporations to sue the US outside of our judicial system, makes them less likely to support the deal; and

o Immigration is also an important concern for voters. When presented with a positive argument that CAFTA will help reduce illegal immigration by providing economic opportunities in the CAFTA countries, 45% of voters said it would make them more likely to support the deal.

Unfortunately, studies have shown that immigration increased substantially in the years after NAFTA was implemented and many believe CAFTA will strongly follow suit.