AP-GfK Poll: Two-Thirds Of U.S. Consumers Would Choose Cheaper Products Over U.S.-Made Goods

Although most Americans would prefer to buy U.S.-made goods, two-thirds acknowledged in a recent poll that they would opt for a cheaper foreign-made alternative instead.

In this March 16, 2012 file photo, a 'Made in America' tag hangs on a chest of drawers at a furniture factory in Lincolnton, N.C. The vast majority of Americans say they prefer lower prices instead of paying a premium for items labeled “Made in the U.S.A.,” even if it means those cheaper items are made abroad, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone, File)
In this March 16, 2012 file photo, a "Made in America" tag hangs on a chest of drawers at a furniture factory in Lincolnton, N.C. The vast majority of Americans say they prefer lower prices instead of paying a premium for items labeled “Made in the U.S.A.,” even if it means those cheaper items are made abroad, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone, File)

Although most Americans would prefer to buy U.S.-made goods, two-thirds acknowledged in a recent poll that they would opt for a cheaper foreign-made alternative instead.

Nearly 75 percent of respondents to an Associated Press-GfK survey released last week indicated that, despite their preference for them, domestically manufactured goods were frequently too expensive or too difficult to find.

Meanwhile, 67 percent said that they would purchase $50 pants made in another country instead of an identical $85 pair made in the U.S.

Thirty percent of participants said that they would buy the U.S.-made pair, and just 9 percent said that they exclusively buy American-made products.

The poll comes as rhetoric about overseas trade features prominently in the presidential race.

The U.S. faces trade deficits with numerous rival nations, many of which pay sharply lower manufacturing wages. Although the strong dollar particularly hindered American trade in recent months, critics also blamed trade agreements and currency manipulation for perpetuating the problem.

The AP-GfK poll found that respondents were divided on the impact of free trade agreements, with 37 percent believing they made no difference for the U.S. economy, 33 percent viewing them as a negative and 27 percent as a positive.

But the study also showed that 46 percent believed that such agreements decreased jobs for U.S. workers compared to just 11 percent that believed the pacts benefited employment.

Analysts noted also noted that despite a U.S. economy at full employment, wage levels largely remained stagnant and put increased pressure on consumers to find lower prices.

The poll, however, also found that wages weren't entirely to blame. Households earning more than $100,000 annually said that they would buy the cheaper foreign-made pants in similar numbers as the overall pool of respondents.

In this March 16, 2012 file photo, a 'Made in America' tag hangs on a chest of drawers at a furniture factory in Lincolnton, N.C. The vast majority of Americans say they prefer lower prices instead of paying a premium for items labeled “Made in the U.S.A.,” even if it means those cheaper items are made abroad, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone, File)In this March 16, 2012 file photo, a "Made in America" tag hangs on a chest of drawers at a furniture factory in Lincolnton, N.C. The vast majority of Americans say they prefer lower prices instead of paying a premium for items labeled “Made in the U.S.A.,” even if it means those cheaper items are made abroad, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone, File)
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