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Union Voters Supported Obama 65-33, Build Firewall in Key Battlegrounds
Full poll results: http://bit.ly/RWgUce
(Washington, D.C., November 7, 2012) – Yesterday it was voters’ turn to speak and the message they sent as they re-elected the President was unmistakable: It’s time to rebuild the middle class and invest in America. According to a national election night survey conducted by Peter D. Hart Research Associates for the AFL-CIO, voters concluded that President Obama would focus on helping working people and Mitt Romney, on the other hand, would focus on helping the wealthy. Issues important to working families drove support for the President—creating good jobs, protecting Medicare and Social Security benefits and making sure the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes—the survey showed.
In addition, the survey found, union members voted for President Obama 65 percent to 33 percent.
“This election was about a choice between two very different visions for our nation. One vision rewards hard work and the people who do it, while the other benefits only those at the top,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “Voters rejected Romney economics. They made clear they want solutions that respect hard work, strengthen the middle class, invest in America and build upon working together instead of driving people apart. That’s the leadership we’ve seen from President Obama for the last four years,” he said.
“The American people sent a clear message that we will stand with a President who stands with all Americans. From the White House to the statehouses, we pulled together to elect leaders who believe that ‘we are all in this together,’ said Lee Saunders, president of AFSCME and chair of the AFL-CIO Political Committee.
Trumka addressed the importance of the expanding electorate, saying, “Last night you saw what our nation is – Latinos, young people, African Americans, union families– a vibrant, multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-generational country whose electorate and leaders are slowly becoming more representative of who we are.”
According to the election night survey, voters nationwide want to end the Bush era tax cuts for the richest 2 percent and strongly reject cuts in Social Security and Medicare benefits, including raising retirement age for either program and reducing the cost of living adjustment for people on Social Security. They said corporations and the wealthy have too much influence over the political system and they want to end tax loopholes that encourage U.S. companies to send jobs overseas, continue federal unemployment insurance benefits for those who have lost their jobs and are unable to find new ones and provide federal funding to local governments to prevent layoffs of teachers, firefighters and police officers.
AFL-CIO leaders noted that the labor movement’s political program served as a firewall in critical battleground states like Wisconsin, Nevada and Ohio— where union members voted for President Obama over Mitt Romney 70 percent to 29 percent. Unions expanded their reach on the ground in key states through the AFL-CIO’s community affiliate Working America, whose members voted for Obama over Romney 66 percent to 32 percent. And through the labor SuperPAC Workers’ Voice, union volunteers were able to compete with unprecedented amounts of corporate cash by reaching beyond union voters to talk one-on-one with the public about candidates’ stands on issues of critical importance to working families.
Over the course of the campaign, the labor election program made more than 80 million phone calls to union members and working class households, knocked on more than 14 million doors, had conversations with more than 3 million workers in the workplace and sent more than 75 million pieces of mail.
The AFL-CIO also carried out a massive voter registration and voter protection program up to and through election day. Since August 2011, the labor movement registered more than 450,000 new union members to vote. And through the My Vote, My Right voter protection program, unions worked closely with community partners to provide voting information for months, culminating in an election day rapid response operation with over 2,000 poll monitors helping ensure voters’ rights.
With Workers’ Voice, unions ran a cutting-edge targeting and online mobilization program, launching new digital tools to enable grassroots activists to contact their friends and neighbors and turn traditionally top-down political action into bottom-up mobilization.
Trumka said the labor movement has built a long term, year-round mobilization structure that won’t stop with elections. Already the AFL-CIO and allies are gearing up to press the interests of working people in the coming lame duck session of Congress. Tomorrow working family activists will be out in communities at nearly a hundred events to deliver a message to members of Congress about the fiscal showdown: No more tax breaks for the richest 2% and no benefit cuts to Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid.
Trumka said, “It’s time to rebuild America’s middle class, not tear it down. It’s time for everyone in America to pay their fair share and that starts at the top. It’s time for a renewed investment in manufacturing, education and basic infrastructure—to create good jobs here at home. It’s time to fix our broken immigration system and create common-sense, humane solutions that respect families and communities. It’s time for all working people to be able to exercise our rights with confidence. Even after such a polarizing campaign, our nation can and will come together to move our country forward, and we’re ready to be a part of it.”
Contact: Josh Goldstein/Jeff Hauser (202) 637-5018