Washington, D.C. — A new analysis from the Center for American Progress Action Fund finds that union members voted for President Joe Biden in 2020 in much greater proportions than did nonunion members, cementing Biden’s path to victory and also offering a possible path forward for the Democratic Party to gain support in future elections.
The analysis finds that union voters favored Biden more than nonunion voters across most breakdowns of gender, race and ethnicity, education, and age:
- White working-class union voters and union voters older than age 50 provided stronger support for the Democratic candidate than their nonunion counterparts—even though on the whole, these groups favored the Republican candidate in large numbers in 2020.
- Union women were 21 percentage points more likely than nonunion women to vote for Biden, while union men were 13 percentage points more likely than nonunion men to vote for Biden.
- The union advantage for Biden was particularly pronounced among white voters—among whom union voters were 18 percentage points more favorable than white nonunion voters—but it still held strong with Hispanic voters (13 percentage points more favorable) and other nonwhite or multiple race voters (9 percentage points more favorable). There was no statistically significant difference among Black voters, among whom both union and nonunion workers overwhelmingly favored Biden.
- Union voters were more favorable than nonunion voters to Biden among both working-class and college-educated voters, by 6 percentage points and 22 percentage points, respectively.
- Compared with their nonunion counterparts, working-class Hispanic union voters were 16 percentage points more favorable to Biden, while working-class white union voters were 6 percentage points more favorable to Biden.
- Union voters, compared with nonunion voters, provided an advantage for Biden across all age groups that only increased with age: 18-29 offered a 5 percentage-point advantage; 30–49 offered a 15 percentage-point advantage; 50–64 offered a 17 percentage-point advantage; and 65 and older offered a 27 percentage-point advantage
“Unions have long been integral to the the Democratic Party’s electoral successes,” said David Madland, senior fellow and the senior adviser to the American Worker Project at CAP Action and co-author of the report. “As the party considers what type of voter it can count on in future election cycles, one group that it can’t overlook is union members. Supporting unions and pro-union legislation, such as the Protecting the Right to Organize Act and the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act, should be central to party strategy in the coming years.”
Read the report: “Unions Are Critical to the Democratic Party’s Electoral Success” by Aurelia Glass, David Madland, and Ruy Teixeira
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