Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Political Science


Jose D. Villalobos


In this study, I examine how perceptions of NAFTA developed over 20 years since its

enactment, measured as perceived economic mobility in 2016, have affected more recent public

perceptions leading to increased, controversial tendencies towards nationalism, protectionism, and

pessimism about the future of the U.S. economy. I then assess whether and how such perceptions

in turn may have affected voter perceptions about Donald Trump, setting the stage for his 2016

election victory. Therein, I have found that among U.S. voters in 2016, those with perceptions of

reduced economic mobility since the enactment of NAFTA were significantly more likely to have

supported changes in U.S. macroeconomic policies, to implement greater economic protection

from elitism within the U.S. government and foreign competition. Additionally, U.S. voters

holding said preferences were significantly more likely to support Trump's candidacy during the

2016 Presidential election rather than Hillary Clinton. However, U.S. voters who identified as

victims of racial discrimination were significantly less likely to support Trump's candidacy in

2016, even when holding preferences congruent with the Trump campaign policy agenda.




Received from ProQuest

File Size

93 pages

File Format


Rights Holder

Jairemy Quinton Edwards