Month after month, CivicScience observes tariff concern among the general population aligning with other concerns, such as the economy and the coronavirus. Throughout the past nine or ten months, concerns about the impact of trade policies and tariffs have remained high as a result of the pandemic. As of last month, following slight declines, however, we observed a steeper decrease in the aftermath of the election. 

December 2020’s numbers were stagnant in comparison to November’s, remaining at 66% when grouping those who were ‘somewhat’ and ‘very concerned’.

Numbers show little to no difference when ungrouped. Those ‘very’ or ‘somewhat concerned’ shifted, respectively, by one percentage point.

What’s interesting is that, while tariff concern peaked at the beginning of this year, grave concern (those reporting they are ‘very concerned’) actually went down when comparing the overall 2020 numbers to 2019’s. With so much to be concerned about in the year 2020, things shifted a bit.

Americans’ direct experience with tariffs on their household spending is also consistent with last month’s reading, though there was a three-percentage point drop in those who said they didn’t notice a difference in how tariffs are impacting their bottom line.

Political Makeup

Comparing November’s numbers to December’s, Democrats are less concerned about tariffs in the most recent data, but Republicans show an increase in their concern.

Financial Situation

While a large percentage of the population is either out of work or making substantially less, some Americans have still made out better as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. When looking at this through the lens of tariff concern, those who have come out in better financial situations as a result of the coronavirus pandemic are the least concerned about tariffs, for obvious reasons. 

Similarly, as second stimulus checks hit mailboxes (and bank accounts) of those who qualify, people who call themselves concerned about tariffs are more likely to need to funds to pay for necessities and bills, while those who are unconcerned (and don’t need the money, necessarily) are more likely to save the extra cash. Also notable is those who are ‘very concerned’ about tariffs are also the most likely to be unsure of how they’ll spend their second payment, likely because this segment has more to cover right now with less means.

Any disturbance or potential one on someone’s bank account sets off alarm bells during a time of economic uncertainty for millions of Americans. When a new president is sworn in, and new trade policies take shape, CivicScience will continue to track the sentiment of tariff concern among the entire nation, and the nuances that exist therein.