Democrats' Surprisingly "Meh" Union Vote Performance

A blog about business and economics.
Nov. 5 2012 1:31 PM

Democrats' Surprisingly "Meh" Union Vote Performance

A lot of pixels have been spilled on the political economy of labor unions over the past couple of years, but one wrinkle in this that you don't hear too much about is the Democratic Party's relatively weak performance with union households.

According to this Pew poll's internals, for example, 57 percent of union household members say they're planning to vote for Obama. That's a strong performance compared to his 47 percent showing in nonunion households. But there are plenty of demographic subcategories where Obama does better than 57 percent. He's backed by 59 percent of voters under 30, by 64 percent of unmarried women, by 93 percent of blacks, by 66 percent of Hispanics, by 61 percent of people with family incomes below $30,000, and 58 percent of women under the age of 50.


Obviously none of that is to downplay the practical importance of labor unions to Democratic Party politics (see Molly Ball's great article on labor in Ohio), but everyone knows that if Obama only gets 57 percent of Hispanic votes on Tuesday, he's toast. But it's clear that African-Americans, Latinos, young people, and single women regard the GOP as antithetical to their values and interests in a way that labor households don't, even as the GOP has moved to a very ideologically rigorous anti-union policy platform.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.



The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Congress’ Public Shaming of the Secret Service Was Political Grandstanding at Its Best

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

A Plentiful, Renewable Resource That America Keeps Overlooking

Animal manure.

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10


Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Hasbro Is Cracking Down on Scrabble Players Who Turn Its Official Word List Into Popular Apps

Florida State’s New President Is Underqualified and Mistrusted. He Just Might Save the University.

  News & Politics
Sept. 30 2014 9:33 PM Political Theater With a Purpose Darrell Issa’s public shaming of the head of the Secret Service was congressional grandstanding at its best.
Oct. 1 2014 8:34 AM Going Private To undertake a massively ambitious energy project, you don’t need the government anymore.
The Eye
Oct. 1 2014 9:26 AM These Lego Masterpieces Capture the Fear and Humor of the “Dark” Side
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 8:46 AM The Vintage eBay Find I Wore to My Sentencing
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:00 PM There’s Going to Be a Live-Action Tetris Movie for Some Reason
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 1 2014 7:30 AM Say Hello to Our Quasi-Moon, 2014 OL339
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.