Union members have traditionally supported Democrats, but union support for President Barack Obama in 2012 is not so unanimous. A new Gallup poll shows that 35 percent of union members support Republican Mitt Romney for president.
Workers who aren’t union members prefer Romney over Obama, 48 percent to 44 percent.
Despite this surprising figure, Obama retains a significant advantage among union voters, leading Romney 57 percent to 35 percent. Obama won 61 percent of the union vote in 2008, beating John McCain’s 38 percent, according to CNN exit polls.
Union members make up roughly 12 percent of voters, according to Gallup. A poll done by Gallup in 2011 showed that roughly 42 percent of non-governmental union employees favor Democrats, and 46.1 percent of state government union employees favor Democrats.
According to that poll, 39.5 percent of federal government union workers favored Democrats.
Continuing this trend, the recent Gallup poll shows that 59 percent of government union members favor Obama, including 63 percent of state government union workers and 58 percent of local government union workers.
Of non-government union employees, 56 percent favor Obama over Romney.
The recent Wisconsin recall campaign against Gov. Scott Walker demonstrates the influence unions can have on politics and elections. In Wisconsin labor groups raised $21 million and spent about $18 million unsuccessfully trying to defeat Walker.
In terms of federal elections, labor groups have raised over $175 million and spent over $127 million this year.
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