Ohio Countdown 2004

2004 Presidential battleground analyzed by a grizzled campaign veteran and Ohio's Top Targeted Undecided Perfectly Predictive Swing Voter - His Mom.


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?


At 5:05 PM, Blogger Bill said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 6:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm too lazy to register.

In my personal experience, the value of a labor endorsement isn't votes, it's PAC money.

At 1:07 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Thanks for pointing this out -

I've been shouted down more than once for suggesting something similar. Union members by and large don't vote! Sure there is a small core of activists that are all over the place and make lots of noise but besides that and the fact that they can bring in some $'s from the Union's cofferes they don't matter much.

At 11:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm too lazy to register too. :-)

I've always thought any Democratic candidate would do better enlisting the army of non-unionized retail and service workers out there. They are not organized and they don't have any clout, but they are legion.

I don't know about you, but when I was growing up and even later, in college, I knew people who worked on production lines in Michigan and Ohio. But now? Seems like those same people have some crappy job in retail that's part-time with no benefits.


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