Large bipartisan majorities favor proposals that would prohibit the sale of US real estate and oil reserves to entities linked to foreign adversaries, including China and Russia. Three-quarters (73%) support a prohibition on the sale of property, including farmland; while 72% support a prohibition on selling oil from US oil reserves, according to an in-depth study by the Program for Public Consultation at the University of Maryland's School of Public Policy.
Concerns among Members of Congress over the US' economic relations with its adversaries, particularly China, have been on the rise. This has been caused in part by increasing purchases of US agricultural land by Chinese companies; as well as the sale of US oil reserves to Chinese energy companies. Members of Congress and state legislatures have introduced legislation to address this issue. Rep. Gallagher, the Chairman of the House select committee on China, recently put forward a bipartisan bill which would give federal officials greater authority to block companies affiliated with foreign adversaries from acquiring certain US lands, particularly those near sensitive sites (e.g. military bases.)
The public consultation survey of 2,625 registered voters ensured that respondents understood the issues by first providing a short briefing on the proposals and having them evaluate arguments for and against. The content was reviewed by expert proponents and opponents of the proposals to ensure that the briefing was accurate and balanced and that the arguments presented were the strongest ones being made.
Currently, the federal government reviews sales of major businesses, technologies and land near military sites to foreign entities, and blocks them if they are deemed a national security risk. One proposal would expand this authority to cover sales of all land and real estate, and require the sale be blocked if the purchaser is determined to be linked to a foreign adversary, whether or not it directly poses a national security risk (H.R. 212). This is favored by 73% (Republicans 84%, Democrats 64%, independents 69%).
The other proposal focused specifically on blocking sales of farmland to foreign entities if the sale is determined to be a national security risk (S. 138). Support for this proposal is even higher at 80% (Republicans 84%, Democrats 78%, independents 77%).
The second part of the survey was on a proposal to prohibit the sale of oil from the US' Strategic Petroleum Reserve to any company affiliated with a foreign adversary, most of which are owned or controlled by their national government (H.R.293, H.R. 21, S. 283). A bipartisan majority of nearly three-quarters (72%) were in favor of prohibiting such sales (Republicans 82%, Democrats 65%, independents 66%)
"Historically, Americans tend to support limiting economic relations with adversaries," commented Steven Kull, director of PPC.