New poll shows Romney with narrow lead among Ohio voters over who will be tougher on China

Peter Navarro, author and director of the recent documentary, “Death by China,” said Friday that a new poll shows Mitt Romney holds a narrow lead over Barack Obama in the opinion of Ohio’s likely voters over who as president would be tougher on pursuing balanced trade with China.

Navarro was in Ohio in September to show the documentary, narrated by Dayton-native Martin Sheen, in nine cities including Beavercreek. The University of California-Irvine economist and author of a book by the same name, also showed the film in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Virginia after showings here in his bid to intensify the debate over off-shoring and trade deficits.

The findings are from Zogby Analytics, which conducted the online survey of 827 likely voters in Ohio, with 37 percent of respondents identifying as Democrats, 37 percent identifying as Republicans, and 26 percent identifying as independents.

On the question of “In your view, what’s the better jobs program for America?” 55 percent of respondents indicated “cracking down on China’s unfair trade practices” as opposed to only 21 percent for “more government stimulus programs.”

Importantly, Navarro said, 40 percent of respondents said Mitt Romney was “more likely to crack down on China’s unfair trade practices” compared to 37 percent for Barack Obama.

Navarro said that “it remains unclear as to whether Mitt Romney’s ‘tough on China’ advantage over Obama will translate into a victory in the crucial swing state of Ohio. What is abundantly clear from the poll results is that the people of Ohio have little confidence in the Keynesian stimulus approach to putting America back to work.”

Full results of the Zogby poll will be available Sunday evening, Navarro said.

Navarro estimates that his film was seen by tens of thousands of viewers in Ohio, and had a real impact on the presidential campaign. Romney and Obama, in television commercials and mailed advertising, have positioned themselves as advocates of America’s middle-class and willing to confront trade abuse by China.

Navarro says he’s neutral in the presidential race, but believes the economy is stuck in neutral because the U.S. imports too many manufactured goods from abroad and runs a huge annual trade deficit with China of nearly $300 billion. China, Navarro argues, benefits from using artificial trade barriers and currency manipulation to keep U.S. products out, instead dumping Chinese goods here underwritten by illegal government subsidies. The situation prevented the creation of 20 million U.S. jobs in a decade, Navarro said.

Navarro is calling for a boycott of Chinese goods. He links the closure of 60,000 U.S. factories in a decade to offshoring by U.S. multinationals to China and elsewhere.

He calls Ohio “ground zero” for the destruction because of its heavy manufacturing base and small to mid-size companies that make up the supply chain. Ohio lost 3,500 factories in a decade, federal records show, and a third of its manufacturing employment.

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