Trump Support Among Union Members Sinks Lower

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By Michael Rose

Oct. 28 — Support for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has dropped even lower among union members, the AFL-CIO said.

Support for Trump among members of AFL-CIO-affiliated unions stood at 33 percent in Florida, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, the five battleground states the group was targeting, Michael Podhorzer, political director for the labor federation, said. That was a decrease from September, when Trump’s support among union members in those states stood at 36 percent, and an even larger drop from June, when it stood at 41 percent.

The AFL-CIO has focused resources in those five states since the beginning of the election cycle, but more recently it has devoted resources to North Carolina, Missouri and New Hampshire, Podhorzer told Bloomberg BNA. The federation also is ramping up its operations in the run-up to Nov. 8, he said.

The labor federation rarely releases its internal polling numbers, but it did so in September when the results showed declining support for Trump among union members. The latest numbers represent an even further drop, and the AFL-CIO has sought to counter the narrative that union members support the Republican nominee.

The Trump campaign didn’t respond to a request for comment Oct. 28.

More People Volunteering

“The number of people volunteering in the states goes up kind of exponentially as we get closer to the election,” Podhorzer said. “We’re having many more conversations both at the door and at work sites as it approaches,” which accounts for much of the information that union members are getting.

In its announcement of the polling results, the AFL-CIO said Trump support stood at 33 percent in Ohio, 34 percent in Pennsylvania and 30 percent in Florida. Those were all decreases from June, when the share of union members who supported Trump was 11 percentage points higher in Ohio, 9 percentage points higher in Pennsylvania and 7 percentage points higher in Florida.

The latest poll was conducted Oct. 17-20, Podhorzer said. Trump support also stood this month at 33 percent in Wisconsin and 34 percent in Nevada, he said.

Finish Behind Where Romney Did?

Podhorzer said he expected that as undecided voters made up their minds, polls would show slightly increased support for Trump as Election Day nears.

“But I still believe that he’s been running behind [2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt] Romney and will finish behind Romney” in terms of union members’ support, Podhorzer said. In its announcement of the polling results, the AFL-CIO said about one-third of union members identify as Republican.

In July 2015, when the federation invited all declared presidential candidates of both parties to answer questionnaires and meet with its executive council, Trump declined to do so.

After the AFL-CIO endorsed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in June, Trump released a statement saying the federation “has become part of the rigged system in Washington, D.C. that benefits only the insiders” and insisting that union members would support him.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Rose in Washington at mrose@bna.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Peggy Aulino at maulino@bna.com; Terence Hyland at thyland@bna.com

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