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Friday, April 15, 2011

How Significant is Union Membership in Determining U.S. Voting Patterns ?

In a CRYSTAL BALL blog post entitled, 'A Declining Constituency : Union Voters and the Democratic Party',  Alan I. Abramowitz concludes :

" While labor unions remain a crucial source of financial support and campaign workers for the Democratic Party and its candidates, union voters make up a much smaller component of the Democratic electoral coalition today than in the past. This is due to both the decline in the proportion of voters in union households and the declining loyalty of union voters to Democratic candidates. Part of this decline in loyalty reflects the impact of cross-pressures on the voting decisions of white union members who are also either regular churchgoers or gun owners. Evidence from the 2008 National Exit Poll indicates that even in an election in which the economy was the dominant issue, both church attendance and gun ownership exerted a substantially stronger influence than union membership on candidate preference among white voters. It remains to be seen whether an increase in the salience of issues affecting unions such as the collective bargaining rights of public employees will alter this pattern in 2012. "

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