Big Labor's Little Secret
The utter impotence of labor unions in political campaigns might be the Democrats' best kept secret. Thanks to the importance of the 2004 election, we are beginning to measure just how worthless labor support actually may be.
Dick Gephardt's entire campaign for president was based on labor unions. We now have a precise measurement of what that gets you...a distant fourth place in the Iowa Caucuses, and an early exit.
He still road that wave of supposed labor muscle to become a front runner in the veepstakes, analysts even going so far as to say that his labor credentials would help deliver Ohio.
Laughable. Why? Ask anyone who's organizing labor union members this year.
Unions focused on getting out the vote among their memberships this year have been conducting internal polling to target their efforts. (Teamsters, SEIU, AFSCME, etc.) Talk about an eye-opener. Turns out that on average, only about 40% of all union members are registered to vote. Of that, only about half actually vote Democrat. Which means that there is a 20% chance that a union member will vote Democrat this year.
If you whittle it down a little more, focusing on likely voters, you come up with the headline that a union member is less likely to vote Democrat than the entire population as a whole.
Exactly what labor clout are we actually talking about?