Exporting American jobs to low cost sweatshops in China, Mexico and India is "good for the US economy," recently opined a spokesman for President George W Bush.

But a mere sixteen percent of US voters agree with this eccentric contention, some perhaps believing that what the spokesman really meant was "good for US corporations".

According to the latest Harris Poll, 68% disagreed with the White House view, while another 16% were "not sure". Furthermore, the majority opposing the presidential sentiment was spread across the political divide, numbering 58% of Republican supporters.

And a 69% majority would support a "special tax [on] companies that use less expensive foreign workers to replace American workers", with only 17% dissenting and 14% unsure.

Asked specifically about three of the most common channels for job exportation, the biggest majorities disapprove of outsourcing IT, data processing and call center work to India. Seventy-two percent think it "a bad idea" versus 16% who don’t, with 12% uncertain.

Smaller but still substantial majorities think use of Chinese or Mexican workers to manufacture goods previously made in the US is a bad idea: respectively by 64% to 21%; and 59% to 24%.

As to the upcoming November shootout between President Bush and Senator John Kerry, a mere 24% believe the White House incumbent has the best policy on issues of job outsourcing; and surprisingly few more (32%) expressed confidence in Kerry's policy.

The survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive within the US between March 18-29 among a nationwide cross section of 3,698 adults. ‘Propensity score’ weighting was used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online. Full details of the poll can be found on the Harris website.

Data sourced from: Daily Research News Online; additional content by WARC staff