Friday, December 28, 2012

State of the Unions

One of the few demographic trends favoring Republicans right now is the shrinking share of union voters.

Using exit poll data from the Roper Center, a couple quick things emerge.

a. The union vote has shrunk in every presidential election since 2000.

In Gore vs. Bush, union households made up 26% of the vote. That dropped to 24% four years later; then 21%, and last month, union households only made up 18% of voters -- tied for the smallest number in the modern era of exit polls.

b. Union preference is incredibly consistent.

Here's the union vote for the Democratic nominee this century: 59%, 59%, 59% and 58%.

In the previous six elections, union support for the Democratic nominee averaged 56%, so Democrats are doing slightly better with unions this century than in the previous two decades. That being said, Ross Perot dangles his little asterisk over 1990's data, so it's hard to compare the '90s directly with other elections.

c. 1976 was a banner year for unions.

The Roper Center's exit poll data begins in 1976.

Since then, it's only been downhill for unions.

In 1976, union households made up 29% of the vote and 62% voted for the Democratic nominee.

Neither number has been reached since.


2012: Obama 58% Romney 40% (made up 18% of voters).

2008: Obama 59% McCain 39% (made up 21% of voters).

2004: Kerry 59% Bush 40% (made up 24% of voters).

2000: Gore 59% Bush 37% (made up 26% of voters).

1996: Clinton 60% Dole/Perot 40% (made up 23% of voters).

1992: Clinton 55% Bush/Perot 45% (made up 18% of voters).

1988: Dukakis 57% Bush 43% (made up 25% of voters).

1984: Mondale 54% Reagan 46% (made up 26% of voters).

1980: Carter 48% Reagan 45% (made up 26% of voters).

1976: Carter 62% Ford 38% (made up 29% of voters).