The same voters that Democrats have been struggling to win over and energize in recent elections — low-income and non-college educated Americans — are among the strongest supporters of unions and the current wave of labor strikes, according to a new poll.
More Perfect Union and Blue Rose Research ran a national survey of 2,450 voters from October 18 to October 24 to assess voters’ attitudes toward organized labor and strikes. Majorities of Americans said they view labor unions favorably (58 percent), would support unions at their place of work (54 percent), and agree that the current strike wave is long overdue (53 percent).
Thousands of workers are currently on strike across the country, including 10,000 John Deere workers in Iowa and Illinois and 1,400 Kellogg’s workers in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Nebraska, and Tennessee.
The poll found that while majorities of Americans at every income level said they support having a union at their workplace, the strongest support came from Americans who make less than $25k per year (58 percent) and between $25k and $50k per year (57 percent). Among the wealthiest respondents — those making more than $150k per year — a smaller majority of 52 percent support a union at their workplace.
Similarly, while majorities at every education level said they want a union at their workplace, support was strongest — fully 60 percent — among people with less than a high school education. In 2020, Donald Trump won voters with a high school education or less by 15 points.
Low-income workers were also more likely to support worker-led strikes at their job. Fifty-two percent of Americans making less than $25k a year said they would support a strike at their job, as did 54 percent of people making $25k-50k.
Similarly, a clear majority of people making under $100k per year agreed that the strike wave is “long overdue and benefits wages and working conditions.” Just 49 percent of people making more than $150k per year agreed with that statement.
In 2020, Joe Biden won support from just 33 percent of non-college educated white voters. Yet 49 percent of those same voters said they support a union at their workplace, believe there should be more unionized workers in America, and agree that the strike wave is long overdue.
The poll findings indicate that taking action to support workers who want to unionize or who are on strike could help to woo non-college voters back into the Democratic Party as well as reinforce the Democratic Party’s base of support among young people and people of color, groups which our poll finds to be the strongest supporters of unions and strikes.
Overall a majority of Americans agreed that the strike wave is long overdue and more union employees are needed — a significant show of support for President Biden’s efforts to grow labor unions’ ranks.
However, President Biden and many Democrats in Congress have been hesitant to publicly back workers currently on strike across the country. Biden has yet to personally take action to support striking workers at Kellogg’s or John Deere, and he’s not alone among prominent Democratic lawmakers.
If Democrats want to protect and expand their majorities in 2022, having prominent elected officials like members of the U.S. Congress and President Biden speak out in support of workers fighting for better wages and dignity in the workplace could be a good place to start.
Full poll results can be found here.