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AFL-CIO Now

Differing Economic Visions Drive Working-Class Voters to Obama

Photo courtesy of the Colorado AFL-CIO Facebook page.

The union movement’s election outreach and mobilization—which ends with a massive “Final Four” get-out-the-vote (GOTV) drive—has made “the working class rejection of the Bush-Romney-Ryan economic agenda the defining issue of this election,” says AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.

Overwhelmingly, core economic issues, like protecting Medicare, ending tax cuts for the rich, creating good jobs and rejecting the failed economic policies of the past, are driving working-class voters to Barack Obama and away from Republican economics and wedge issues—as long as people have the information on both candidates’ real records.

In a conference call with reporters Thursday morning, Trumka said the field campaign by the AFL-CIO, Workers’ Voice and Working America has been focused on reaching working-class voters around those core economic issues. Not only has that built support for Obama and solidified working families' rejection of Romney’s Bain Capital economic agenda, but it has boosted down-ballot campaigns as well. 

Senate candidates like Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Tammy Baldwin (Wis.), Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Debbie Stabenow (Mich.) and Bob Casey (Pa.) are leading because they’ve championed the middle-class economic policies that run completely counter to the Romney-Ryan plan. And we’re seeing the same movement in state legislative races where there’s an overwhelming rejection of governors and their radical economic policies and overreach.  

AFL-CIO Political Director Mike Podhorzer said that the focus on "Romneynomics," coupled with the Republican’s immigration policies, has led to overwhelming Latino support for Obama. Some 73% say they trust Obama and the Democrats to fix the economy, compared with 18% who trust Romney and the GOP. 

Podhorzer also noted that a year ago pundits said the state of the economy would lead working-class voters to desert Obama and demoralize working-family voters. Neither has happened he said, in large part because of the union movement’s grassroots focus on the destructive reverse Robin Hood, union-busting, extreme economic positions of Romney and the right. 

This is not a debate about the economic conditions we face right now, but the conditions we will face in the future, and working families are backing President Obama’s vision of the future.

He said that working-class voters are far from demoralized or demobilized.

By what’s going on, we can see in the last months and last year that is anything but true. Working people are turning out and volunteering and are ready to win this election for their economic future.

That enthusiasm is carrying over into the “Final Four” GOTV effort. Trumka said there will be more than 128,000 volunteers who will be talking to voters at their homes, on the phones and at their worksites.

In the final four days, volunteers will knock on 5.5 million doors, make 5.2 million phone calls, hand out 2 million leaflets at worksites and deliver 12 million pieces of mail.

In addition, he said there will be more than 2,000 on-site poll monitors to report any voter suppression or voter intimidation attempts to the AFL-CIO’s My Vote, My Right voter protection program’s rapid response team.

We are firing on all cylinders in our “Final Four” effort to elect working-family champions, starting with President Obama.

Have questions about your voting rights? Call 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683) or download the Election Protection Smartphone App

Read more about working families' "Final Four" GOTV push

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