Union Bosses Are Out Of Touch, Vast Majority Of US Voters Say

SEIU: a.katz/, UAW: Glynnis Jones/, Teamsters: a.katz/

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Ted Goodman Contributor
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A new Rasmussen Survey found that just 20 percent of likely U.S. voters think that most organized labor leaders do a good job representing union members.

The survey shows that an overwhelming majority of voters, including current and past union members, believe that the majority of union leaders are out of touch with their rank and file membership. Fifty-seven percent responded that most union leaders are out of touch with most of their membership, and 24 percent were undecided.

Respondents who are now or have been a member of a labor union shared the same sentiment, with only 25 percent thinking that union leaders do a good job representing their membership. Half of those surveyed who are now or have been union members agreed that unions have too much clout, with 33 percent who responded that they don’t have enough influence.

Previous polls by Rasmussen found that the economy remains the number one issue for likely voters. Fifty percent of likely voters think the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) needs to be renegotiated, while just 27 percent do not.

The numbers may worry Democrats, as there is evidence that Republican nominee Donald Trump may be appealing to large swaths of union members and blue caller workers in key battleground states.

Additional statistics show that men are much more likely than women to think unions have too much political influence and that their leadership is out of touch with the rank and file. By race, white voters believe more strongly than minority voters that unions have too much influence. Sixty-five percent of Republicans say union leaders are out of touch with those they represent, while 46 percent of Democrats say that unions are out of touch.

Rasmussen reports that many union members are attracted to Republican nominee Donald Trump because of his position on trade. Trump is a vocal opponent to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a contentious issue for union members that is backed by President Barack Obama.

Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton once called TPP, “the gold standard in trade agreements,” but she changed her tune as the Democratic primary became a bruising battle against Sen. Bernie Sanders. The insurgent Democratic socialist repeatedly accosted Clinton for her support from Wall Street and for supporting previous trade agreements such as NAFTA and CAFTA.

While previous polls indicated that Trump is appealing to working class voters and union members, most national union bosses have endorsed Clinton. The AFL-CIO’s political organizing arm found in January that Trump trounced Clinton and Sanders among voting members who had firmly chosen a candidate.

For this poll, Rasmussen surveyed 1,000 likely voters on August 3-4, 2016  over telephone. The margin of sampling error is plus/minus 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

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