Poll Shows Broad, Bipartisan Support for Action on American Steel

Contact: Lisa Harrison (AISI)     202-452-7115     lharrison@steel.org


WASHINGTON, DC - A coalition of associations and companies, representing steel producers and the supply chain, commissioned a survey of 1000 registered likely voters from across the country to gauge public concern about the steel industry’s plight and measure recommendations for action. Key findings of the survey, which was performed by The Tarrance Group of Alexandria, Virginia at the end of January, conclude that:

  • The loss of U.S. manufacturing jobs overseas and the damage to the American steel industry due to unfair foreign imports are very important issues facing the country, according to 82% of voters. 
  • 72% of voters believe elected officials of both parties have let the United States fall behind other countries that don’t play by the rules.
  • 86% of voters very strongly believe that the American steel industry is critical to America’s national security.

“This poll reflects sweeping and compelling national public opinion that, although there is clear support for the steel industry, voters are immensely concerned about the challenges the industry is facing from unfair foreign imports. The research shows that voters of both parties want action, which has also been reflected in the results of some of the presidential primaries and caucuses,” said Thomas J. Gibson, president and CEO of the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI). “What does it all mean? It means that the impact of unfair foreign trade practices on American jobs has reached crisis proportions, and voters want it fixed.”

Phillip K. Bell, president of the Steel Manufacturers Association (SMA), agreed that the poll confirms the concerns of the industry, “This research highlights increasing awareness of the critical role that the U.S. steel industry plays in protecting our national security, supporting a strong middle class, and building our nation's infrastructure and communities. It is incumbent upon Congress and the Administration to advance sound policies that allow American steel producers to compete with China and other nations that engage in unfair trade practices at the expense of the United States.” 

Skip Hartquist, Counsel for the Specialty Steel Industry of North America, said, “Many voters – 72 % to be exact -- are very concerned that both parties have let the United States fall behind other countries that don’t play by the rules, which has adversely impacted steel jobs. Our collective advocacy work will continue to reflect the issues and positions that the American public overwhelmingly conveyed in this survey.”

Roger B. Schagrin, General Counsel of the Committee on Pipe and Tube Imports (CPTI), said, “The U.S. steel pipe and tube industry has been challenged by record levels of imports with over half of the domestic market for pipe and tube products captured by imports over the past year. As a result, thousands of pipe and tube workers have been laid off leaving workers, families and communities in distress. The results of this recent poll clearly highlight the importance of the steel industry to the nation. Therefore, we join with the other members of the steel industry and the steelworkers to call upon the Administration and the Congress to focus on solutions to the problem.”

Other specific findings include the following:

  • 73% of respondents are very concerned that the U.S. is one of few countries that imports more steel than it exports.
  • 65% of voters agree that foreign countries whose governments own and operate their own steel production are devastating the American steel manufacturing industry and its workers, and that unfair trade practices by other countries like China are mostly to blame for the decline in American steel manufacturing and the loss of good wage jobs.
  • 71% are very concerned about the possibility that America’s national security could be compromised if foreign imports continue to cripple the American steel industry.
  • 70% of voters feel that China’s attempt to dominate the global economy is a very important concern.
  • 77% of voters feel that the U.S. falling behind other countries in manufacturing is a very important concern.
  • 57% of voters across the country indicate it is “very important” that the candidates running for President specifically offer a plan to increase steel production and stop the jobs loss. Partisanship does not play a role in views on this issue; 61% of Republicans and approximately 56% of both Democrats and Independents believe it is very important.

A more detailed version of key findings of the survey is available here.

Click here for a PDF version of this release.