Nik Nanos digs beneath the numbers with CBC Power & Politics host Evan Solomon to get to the political, economic and social forces that shape our lives.

This week: Twenty-five years after the Canada-U.S. Free-Trade agreement was reached, do Canadians feel they are worse or better off, and how will that impact future free trade agreements that are in the works?

The Number:

14

The percentage of Canadians who feel that a free trade agreement with the EU will have a positive impact.

The source: Nanos Free Trade Survey, national representative online survey of 1,000 Canadians 18 years of age and older conducted Sept. 10-11, 2012.

This week is the 25th anniversary of the Canada-U.S. free trade deal. As the government celebrates, it's also focussed on a number of new trade agreements, including a potentially game-changing deal with the European Union.

But 25 years later, how are Canadians feeling about the original free trade deal with the U.S.?

A new survey by Nanos Research shows that only 33 per cent of Canadians feel that the economy is better off because of the free trade deal, while 26 per cent of Canadians feel they are worse off and 16 per cent believes there was no impact.

Support goes down to 28 per cent when respondents were asked about NAFTA, the free-trade agreement between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico concluded in the early 1990s.

Nik Nanos says this has to do with the fact that "when the economy is soft people look at these trade deals and say how has this had a positive impact?"

"Right now, maybe there's a little bit of free trade malaise because people can't see the connection between these deals and their every day lives," Nanos says.

There are a number of other trade deals in the works right now, including one with the European Union and another with Asia-Pacific nations through the Trans-Pacific Partnership. But Canadians seem to be just as ambivalent about those well.

A Nanos Survey also shows that only 14 per cent of Canadians think a deal with the EU will have a positive impact on the Canadian economy.

And just 16.5 per cent of Canadians think that participating in the TPP will have a positive impact on the economy.

Nanos says the key takeaway from these numbers is "although Canadians might support or think it's [trade deals] a good idea they don't necessarily have a positive impact. The promise of how this might transform Canada at least has not been bought by the electorate at this point in time."

Nanos argues that trade advocates need to do a better job of explaining what free trade deals like the one with the EU mean for Canadians and how Canada will benefit.

More numbers from the Nanos surveys

Question 1 - Do you think the Canadian economy is better off, worse off or has there been no impact because of the following free-trade agreements: Free Trade Agreement between Canada and the United States

Question 2 - Do you think the Canadian economy is better off, worse off or has there been no impact because of the following free trade agreements: The North American Free Trade Agreement between Canada, the United States and Mexico. 

Canada-U.S. Free-trade deal

NAFTA (Canada-U.S.-Mexico)
Better off3328
Worse off2626
No impact1616
Not sure2530

Source: Nanos Free Trade Survey. National representative online survey of 1,000 Canadians 18 years of age and older conducted between September 10th and September 11th, 2012.

EU free-trade deal and TPP

Do you think that new free trade agreements with the following groups of countries would have positive, somewhat positive, neutral, somewhat negative or negative impact on the Canadian economy?

1. The countries that make up the European Union?

Positive: 14 %

Somewhat positive:  26.4

Neutral:  24

Somewhat negative:  11.9

Negative:  4.5

Unsure:  19.1   2. The Asia Pacific countries that make up the Trans-Pacific Partnership:

Positive: 16.5 %

Somewhat positive:  25.7

Neutral: 19.8

Somewhat negative: 12.6

Negative: 5.4

Unsure: 20.1

Source: Nanos Free Trade Survey. National representative online survey of 1,000 Canadians 18 years of age and older conducted between Sept.10-11, 2012.