Polls Reveal Michigan Attitudes on “Free Trade” and NAFTA

Two new polls reveal some interesting views on NAFTA and neoliberal trade agreements. In the first, 55% of those polled in Michigan say NAFTA and the WTO have been “a bad thing.” In the second, voters respond that by a margin of almost 3 to 1 they believe the US should withdraw or revise NAFTA.

While MediaMouse.org does not typically report on results from polls, we found two new polls to be interesting because they contained some interesting perspectives on “free trade” and neoliberal trade agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

The first, a “Big Ten Battleground” poll on Michigan asked a group of Michigan residents:

“In general, do you think that free trade agreements like NAFTA, and organizations like the World Trade Organization, have been a good thing or a bad thing for the United States?”

The results–while not surprising given the effects of NAFTA on Michigan–are worth noting. Only 23% of respondents said the agreements had been “a good thing,” while 55% said they had been “a bad thing.” The remainder of those surveyed either didn’t know or refused to answer.

A second poll conducted by Zogby and the pro-NAFTA Inter-American Dialogue had some more interesting findings relating to how people in the United States perceive NAFTA:

* By a margin of nearly three-to-one, likely voters believe that the United States should revise or withdraw from NAFTA.

* Anti-NAFTA voters outnumber pro-NAFTA voters in every demographic group.

Grand Rapids Press Gives FOX Pollster a Free Pass

On Monday Fox News pollster Frank Luntz spoke in Grand Rapids. The Grand Rapids Press covered his talk, but failed to investigate his claims and disclose his ties to Republican politics.

On Monday, FOX News pollster Frank Luntz spoke in Grand Rapids at an event hosted by the Economic Club of Grand Rapids. Luntz gave a talk entitled “What’s Really on the Mind of America” where he mostly addressed how the Obama and McCain campaigns were communicating with the voting public. Luntz charged that Omana’s “language does not work. It’s not the language of blue-collar America. It’s the language of urban America.” Luntz also said that Obama tends to resonate with younger voters while McCain appeals to an older crowd. The Fox pollster felt that if Obama wins Michigan it doesn’t mean he will win the presidency, but said that if McCain wins Michigan he will.

The Grand Rapids Press published an article on Luntz’s talk, but the reporter failed to verify any of the claims made by Luntz and the only reference to Luntz’s credentials was mention of a 2007 book he wrote entitled Words That Work. The reporter did mention that Luntz has made a career on supporting the change of language in political discourse, such as referring to “global warming” as “climate change.” Unfortunately, the Grand Rapids Press reporter failed to provide readers with more background on a man with significant political–and partisan–connections.

Luntz has been a Republican Party consultant for years and is CEO of the firm Luntz, Maslansky Strategic Research, which has also represented dozens of Fortune 500 companies. Luntz worked on the famous 1994 Republican “Contract with America” campaign. In 2003, a memo from Luntz was leaked about tactics he provided for Republicans on how to speak about the environment. That same year another memo was leaked to the media from Luntz for the Israel Project where he said “American Jewish leaders should incorporate the war in Iraq into their public comments about Israel.”

One of his biggest contributions to the current administration was a 9-page memo he wrote titled “Communicating the Principles of Prevention and Protection in the War on Terror.” In that document, Luntz provides the following advice on how to speak about national security issues, “No speech about homeland security or Iraq should begin without a reference to 9/11.”

Considering his role in helping to craft much of the language on major political issues in the current administration, it is unfortunate that the Grand Rapids Press gave Luntz a free pass when covering his visit to West Michigan.