Union Vote Key in Election

Poll Shows Key Role of Union Vote in Election
Union voters played an important role in President-elect Barack Obama’s historic victory, delivering a critical bloc of support in swing states that helped propel Obama and other worker-friendly candidates to big wins on Nov. 4, according to polling data from the AFL-CIO. AFL-CIO union members across battleground states supported Obama by a 68 percent to 30 percent margin, according to an election-night survey conducted for the AFL-CIO by Peter D. Hart Research Associates.

Among the other findings from the survey:

  • Obama won among white men who are union members by 18 points, while losing that group by 16 points in the general public.
  • Obama won union retirees by a 46-point margin, while losing voters over 65 in the general public by 8 points.
  • Union veterans voted for Obama by a 25-point margin. He lost among that group in the general public by nine points.

Sixty percent of union members identified the economy and jobs as their top issue, with 84 percent saying strengthening the economy was the most important factor in their vote. Union members identified protecting pensions and Social Security, and reducing healthcare costs, as the top priorities for the new administration. Eighty-one percent of union members support passing the Employee Free Choice Act.

This year’s campaign was the largest, broadest and most targeted effort in AFL-CIO history. The program reached union members, members of union households, retirees, and members of Working America, the AFL-CIO’s community affiliate for workers who don’t have a union on the job. In all, the AFL-CIO’s program reached out to more than 13 million union voters in 24 battleground states. Over the course of the campaign, volunteers made 76 million phone calls, knocked on 14 million doors and delivered 29 million fliers at work sites. The AFL-CIO and its affiliate unions sent 57 million pieces of mail to union households this year. As a result of this effort, 84 percent of union members in battleground states said they heard from their union this election cycle.

The AFT deployed nearly 600 full-time campaign coordinators and 5,000 volunteers to assist affiliates and the AFL-CIO in member-education and get-out-the-vote efforts. After endorsing Obama in July, the AFT made more than 4 million contacts with its membership, including phone calls, mail, leaflets and direct member-to-member contact at home and at the workplace.