October 22, 2010

Independent Voters vs. Unions

by Andrew Kohut, President, Pew Research Center
Special to the New York Times

The good news for the Democrats these days is that union members are one voting bloc that continues to strongly back their party’s candidates — and by a solid margin in our latest national poll, which otherwise finds a double-digit Republican lead in congressional voting intentions. The bad news is that labor unions have fallen out of favor with the broader public, including independents who will cast the decisive votes in this year’s elections.

Positive views of labor unions have plummeted since 2007. The Pew Research Center this year found just 41% of the public said they have a favorable opinion of labor unions while about as many (42%) expressed an unfavorable opinion. In January 2007, a clear majority (58%) had a favorable view of unions while just 31% had an unfavorable impression.

Public skepticism about the purpose and power of labor unions appears to stand behind their falling ratings.

Read the full commentary, as well as other thoughts on the Democrats and unions at the New York Times‘ “Room for Debate” blog.