After several semiconductor chief executives testified last week in favor of government help to boost domestic chip production amid a worldwide shortage, nearly two-thirds of registered voters in a new Morning Consult/Politico survey said they supported federal assistance for U.S. chip manufacturing.
Roughly similar shares of Democrats, independents and Republicans said they would support the subsidies
What the numbers say
- Government assistance for domestic chipmaking has strong bipartisan support, as 68% of Democrats, 63% of independents and 62% of Republicans said they supported it. The CEOs of Intel Corp. and Micron Technology Inc. testified before the Senate Commerce Committee on the effects of the current semiconductor crunch, which has forced some companies to pause production amid high demand and very little supply.
- Among voters who list the economy as their No. 1 issue, 65% said they supported government assistance for domestic semiconductors.
- For voters whose top issue is national security, 64% said they supported government help for U.S. chipmaking. In her opening statement at last week’s hearing, committee Chair Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) said “our overreliance on vulnerable global supply chains – without having a U.S. alternative ready to go – is an economic and national security risk,” and noted that Europol has also warned of the introduction of counterfeit chips into the market.
- Separate bills in the House and Senate to make the United States more competitive with China would spend $52 billion to encourage greater domestic semiconductor production, while another bill would establish a tax credit to incentivize domestic chip manufacturing, design and research. The House and Senate are set to negotiate a final legislative package designed to bolster U.S. competition with China in the coming weeks in a conference committee.
Why it matters
The worldwide chip shortage forced Apple Inc. to slash production goals for its iPhone last year, and while the company said during its first-quarter earnings call that those constraints appeared to be easing, it is reportedly now planning to cut production due to rising inflation and the crisis in Ukraine.
In the meantime, states have been jockeying for major chip manufacturing facilities in a bid to spur domestic production and create jobs, offering companies tax breaks and other incentives for their plants. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. said in November it would build a plant in Taylor, Texas, worth $17 billion, while Intel agreed to potentially invest up to $100 billion to build a chipmaking complex in Ohio.
However, other domestic efforts have run into trouble: Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.’s first U.S. plant in Arizona is reportedly up to six months behind in its construction schedule due to labor shortages and the fluctuations of COVID-19.
The March 25-27, 2022, survey was conducted among a representative sample of 2,006 registered voters, with an unweighted margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.