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Why Obama Has Turned on China Trade Policy

Posted: 09/20/2012 3:25 pm

What to know why President Obama has just gone on the offensive on China trade policy? See the results of this just released Zogby poll commissioned by Death By China Productions. The poll shows Obama faces a huge "soft on China" gap relative to Mitt Romney in the key swing state of Ohio -- and some very interesting findings as well.

New Zogby Poll in Crucial Ohio Swing State

· Obama and Romney in Statistical Dead Heat
· Obama Faces Large "Soft on China" Gap
· The Best Jobs Program is Trade Reform With China
· Ohioans Overwhelming Support a Boycott of Made in China.

President Obama may have opened a lead in national polls, but it remains a statistical dead heat in the crucial swing state of Ohio. In the latest Zogby Poll of 601 likely voters conducted by JZ Analytics, President Obama's lead of 45.3 percent to 43.2 percent over Mitt Romney is well within the statistical margin of error.

Candidates take note: An overwhelming majority of Ohioans -- 80 percent -- agree that "the single most important issue in the 2012 Presidential race is jobs.

Fifty percent of Ohio respondents believe that the best jobs program for America is "cracking down on China's unfair trade practices like currency manipulation, illegal export subsidies, and counterfeiting and piracy" while only 22 percent favor more government stimulus; and these results are consistent across liberals, moderates, and conservatives.

This finding is particularly bad news for President Obama as he faces a double digit "soft on China gap" relative to his opponent. Fully 43 percent of Ohioans believe Mitt Romney is more likely to crack down on China's unfair trade practices compared to only 30 percent for Obama. Among independents where the largest bloc of undecided votes remains, this gap holds at 35 percent to 26 percent in favor of Romney. (This finding may also help explain why Obama has recently ratcheted up his tough on China messaging.)

Fifty-six percent of respondents also believe "Americans should boycott Made in China products because of China's unfair trade practices and human rights abuses" while only 19 percent are against the boycott. This result is consistent across party affiliation, indicating the issue of China is an American issue, not a partisan issue.

If Obama is to win in the crucial swing state of Ohio -- and thereby likely win the election -- he would do well to try to close his very large "soft on China" gap not by attacking Romney for being soft on China -- Ohioans won't believe that. Rather, Obama should carry the slogan "the best jobs program is trade reform with China" and lay out very specific policy actions that will curb China's cheating.

For his part, Romney would do well to further press his "tough on China" advantage in Ohio by extending his campaign talking points significantly beyond his promise to brand China a currency manipulator on his first day in office. Clearly, China's cheating is a flashpoint for Ohio voters who have seen whole factories uprooted and replanted in China.

The Zogby Poll was commissioned by the filmmaker of Death By China, Peter Navarro to benchmark attitudes of Ohioans on the China question. Navarro is traveling throughout the state showing the film and conducting town hall meetings, with stops in Youngstown, Akron, Dayton, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, Toledo, Mansfield, Portsmouth, Sandusky, Athens, and Findlay.

 
 
 

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