For yet another month, the grouped results of the CivicScience Tariff Monitor (combining answers from those ‘somewhat’ and ‘very concerned’) show little to no movement on aggregate. However, when ungrouping, we do observe a slight change –albeit very subtle– in the percentage of U.S. adults who say they’re ‘very concerned’ about the impact of recent trade policies and tariffs on their household expenditures. The percentage of those who reported they were ‘very concerned’ in January 2021 is three percentage points higher than December’s 26%.
The direct impact of trade policies on household spending reported by American adult consumers was somewhat consistent with December’s percentage. There was a subtle rise in people who say they are buying less due to higher prices.
Shifts in level of concern about tariffs were observed among Republicans since December. There was a 10 percentage point increase in Republicans who say they’re ‘not at all concerned’ about the impact of tariffs. This is slightly ironic considering tariffs became more stringent under the Trump administration.
Independents, however, expressed slightly more concern in the most recent numbers.
The Pandemic’s Job Impact
The job cross-tabulation is eye-opening. Those who are working remotely due to COVID-19 are more concerned about the impact of trade policies and tariffs than those who are experiencing reduced hours and pay or are without work altogether.
When breaking this down by income brackets, the results are a bit more intuitive: those who earn less are more concerned about the impact of tariffs on their bottom line. However, while the highest earners in the $125K+ bracket are the least concerned (41% report being ‘not at all concerned’), they show the second highest level of being ‘very concerned’ compared to the other three earning categories.
As concern about international trade tariffs seems to be stalled for the interim, CivicScience will now publish its Tariff Monitor on a quarterly basis, rather than monthly.