After an odd year of protectionism, and despite the current recession, the American public is once again on the side of free trade; 44% say that trade agreements like NAFTA and the policies of the World Trade Organization are good for the country, up from 35% a year ago. This year’s balance is more in line with long-term trends on trade, as 2008 was the first time in surveys dating back to 1997 that a plurality viewed trade negatively. Roughly a third (35%) currently say free trade agreements are bad for the U.S., down from 48% in 2008. Democrats are much more supportive of trade this year than they were in 2008 (47% say trade is good compared with only 34% in 2008) as are blacks (47% vs. 30%) and those in low-income families (46% vs. 33%). Independents are also more favorable towards trade (up 8 points). Republican opinion remains essentially unchanged (41% “good” vs. 38% “bad”). Read More