Exit Polls Suggest Little Enthusiasm for Biden among Union Members

Despite his labor-left agenda, Biden did not do especially well with organized labor.

Photo Credit: Getty

Although Joe Biden won a majority of votes cast by labor-union members, available data suggest he did slightly worse than past Democratic presidential candidates.

That’s despite the fact that Biden ran on a labor-left agenda that includes a $15 federal minimum wage, a national initiative to increase union membership, and support for the expansive Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act) — a bill that would eliminate right-to-work laws in 28 states, essentially forcing workers into unions even if they don’t want to belong. The PRO Act would also enact a nationwide version of California’s disastrous AB5 law targeting gig economy companies like Lyft and Uber, a law that California voters just rejected.

If union voters really supported these policies, presumably they would have turned out in force for Biden. And, in a sense, they did: The 2020 exit poll for the National Election Pool, a news consortium made up of CNN, ABC News, CBS News and NBC News, found that Biden beat President Trump among union households, 56-40 percent, outperforming Hilary Clinton’s 51 percent share of those households in 2016.

But excluding Clinton, Biden won less support from union households than every Democratic presidential candidate in recent history. President Obama, for example, won 58 percent in 2012 and 59 percent in 2008.  On the other hand, Trump’s numbers, while not as good as in the last election, were still on the high side of what Republicans usually get.

Though polls indicate that union members see Biden less favorably than previous Democratic candidates, definitive data on the organized-labor vote are hard to get. The National Election Pool surveyed voters from “union households,” but what does that mean? That exit poll, the main for news agencies for the last several decades, does not ask voters whether they are union members. Rather, it asks voters if they live in the same house as a union member. It’s entirely possible the people being polled are not in a union and/or voted differently from the union member they live with. To give a sense of how big this potential gray area is, the most recent national exit poll found that 20 percent of voters said they were from a union household, yet only 10.3 percent of all workers are unionized. At best, the results amount to a rough guideline for the union vote.

Read the full article at National Review.