The invisible Romney vote?

posted at 11:01 am on June 17, 2012 by Jazz Shaw

Clark Judge has an interesting column in US News for your weekend reading which poses some provocative questions about the upcoming election. Titled, “The Invisible Romney Vote Obama Should Fear,” Judge identifies a group of voters who may be flying completely under the radar, and for good reason. It’s not a particular racial demographic, or women vs. men or seniors vs. young voters the author has his eye on. It’s the unions.

The cause for his analysis, like so many things recently, comes from the result of Scott Walker’s recall election. To Judge’s way of thinking, it’s not just the fact that Walker won, but the margin of victory and the enduring mystery of how the pollsters got it so wrong.

But that margin. Polls had shown a much tighter race.

All of a sudden, the ghost of elections past is haunting the president and his party. In 1980, in 1994, in 2004—in other words, in big Republican years over the past three-plus decades—the GOP has polled much weaker than its final vote.

Why? Late deciders may be part of the answer, but only part.

Something more is almost surely going on. Here’s my guess as to what.

Particularly in big years when the party is pulling in or turning out occasional rather than reliable party voters, part of the GOP vote is invisible to pollsters. In Wisconsin—maybe everywhere—there may be reluctance among union members to acknowledge that they will cast their ballot for candidates and the party their leadership so virulently opposes.

If you’re a jaded old political observer, the idea of some sort of silent union voting block for the GOP may sound like something out of an alternate universe science fiction movie. But is it really all that crazy? When the numbers were tallied, 38% of union members voted for Walker – totally contradicting most poll numbers – and the AFSCME has lost 54% of its membership in the last 12 months.

Judge may be on to something here. The unions, particularly in the public sector, tend to run a tight ship and don’t tolerate folks speaking out of school. And as long as the government was forcibly extracting dues out of workers’ paychecks, it wasn’t hard to project an image of solidarity against “the man.” But once the curtains close on the voting booth, prying eyes who might threaten to cut off your overtime can no longer see what you’re up to. And in significant numbers, the union workers voted for a new kind of change.

Could this be replicated in other parts of the country… specifically in the swing states? Once you accept the premise of what was happening under the covers in Wisconsin, the more obvious question seems to be, “Why not?” The problems which were plaguing Wisconsin in terms of spending and the unions are hardly unique.

So, is there an invisible union vote out there for Romney just waiting to quietly show up at the polls in November? It might not be as crazy as it sounds.


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The problem with being a conservative in a public employees union is that liberals look on you as either ignorant, confused or evil. If they know you are not evil, then you must be either ignorant or confused. So what’s the answer? Why bombarding you with every stray thought they ever had in an unending attempt to set you right. So even if bad things don’t happen to you because you are a conservative union member, it just isn’t worth the effort to make it known you are a conservative. How many times a day do you want to heard the latest NPR talking points repeated to you anyway?

Fred 2 on June 17, 2012 at 1:47 PM

I am a federal employee, and while I am not in the union (right to work state, thank God), many of my coworkers are. The image many on the right have of public sector employees as being a nearly monolithic bloc of left wing drones who do as their union master say is not accurate; many here would be quite surprised I am sure at how many conservatives (many vets, too) there actually are in government employment. Where I work the number is probably around 40% of the workforce.

And very few of my coworkers are pleased with Obama. :)

KevinB on June 17, 2012 at 1:50 PM

I wrote it, often, here. Many people lie to the pollsters like never before. It will not be a thight election.

Schadenfreude on June 17, 2012 at 1:54 PM

Wow, this is Old News. The pollsters figured this out the day after the Wisconsin vote. If I had been a Union voter in Wisconsin planning to vote for Walker, and some stranger called me on the phone, knowing they had my name and number, the last thing I would have done is tell them the truth.

RADIOONE on June 17, 2012 at 12:47 PM

But if it had been one of the 100% automated “robocall” polls, would you have answered, and answered honestly?

Some people speculate that the perceived level of anonymity is higher, and that people therefore are more willing to answer the questions, and answer them more honestly. Just a theory, needless to say.

Owen Glendower on June 17, 2012 at 1:56 PM

When the numbers were tallied, 38% of union members voted for Walker – totally contradicting most poll numbers

And IIRC, something like 51% of “union household” members (who are not union members themselves) voted for Walker. Not much different than the final result for the general public.

Mr. Prodigy on June 17, 2012 at 1:57 PM

The unions, particularly in the public sector, tend to run a tight ship and don’t tolerate folks speaking out of school. And as long as the government was forcibly extracting dues out of workers’ paychecks, it wasn’t hard to project an image of solidarity against “the man.”

I don’t understand this. Why should union members be afraid of abuse from their union? Workers pay money so the union represents their interests, not the other way around. If I were a dues-paying union member and they were abusing me for disagreeing with their positions, I’d get a lawyer and sue them. Has anyone ever done that?

NukeRidingCowboy on June 17, 2012 at 2:45 PM

There must be sort of mechanism connecting the closing curtains of the voting booth with the opening curtains revealing the Almighty Wizzard of Oz.

Aside from the unsavory way unions put all freedom and social issues on the altar of money and benefits with strings, one thing that would motivate some union folks I know to vote against Obama is his snubbing of Lech Walesa this year as being “too political.”

Not only is this unconscionable, but it also shows great ignorance and disdain for unions. As a child growing up in a union household, I cannot remember a month going by without seeing a picture of that man’s face on the cover of Solidarity (UAW magazine).

Walesa”s union was one of the contributing factors to fall of the Soviets in Poland and eventually around the world.

So is 0bama pro-communism to the point of being anti-union? Judging from his own actions and words, the only possible answer to that question could be: “yes.”

StubbleSpark on June 17, 2012 at 2:50 PM

This article is wrong. Listen to any of your union friends. They know which side their bread is buttered on. They will never vote for Romney. They might stay home, though; Obama’s anti-american sentiments don’t play well with them.

You’re awfully naive if you believe that.
I used to be a member of a trade union and I was a union officer for several years. The whole time I was in the union I had to lie about supporting the Democrats if I wanted to work, and in some cases, to avoid being beaten to a pulp. I was surprised to learn how many other members did the same thing. It’s a lot.
There are a lot of union members who believe that the Democrats are the be all and end all of politics and the saviors of society, and that anyone who doesn’t support them is evil. The true believers are fanatical, utterly intolerant of the slightest dissent, and vicious to those they perceive as heretics. Independents are despised almost as much as Republicans.
There are a lot of union members who will loudly proclaim their love of Obama and fealty to the Democrats and then vote a straight Republican ticket. It’s a simple matter of survival.

single stack on June 17, 2012 at 2:50 PM

“…there may be reluctance among union members to acknowledge that they will cast their ballot for candidates and the party their leadership so virulently opposes.”

PROOF: the day after Walker’s win, Limbaugh had a wisconsin woman caller who lives in a union household who stated that, although she actually voted for Walker, she told the exit pollster that she voted for barrett. Why? – she’s not stupid and didn’t want to get a baseball bat upside her head if the union thugs heard she did not vote for the d-cRAT socialist.

TeaPartyNation on June 17, 2012 at 2:57 PM

I don’t understand this. Why should union members be afraid of abuse from their union? Workers pay money so the union represents their interests, not the other way around. If I were a dues-paying union member and they were abusing me for disagreeing with their positions, I’d get a lawyer and sue them. Has anyone ever done that?

Seriously? The phrase “union thug” wasn’t just made up.
Unions know how to enforce union discipline in ways that leave the member helpless to do anything about it and often have politicians and members of the legal profession (read: judges) in their pockets.
Union members have sued their unions. Some of them were successful. Some of them paid a very high price. Some of them are dead.

single stack on June 17, 2012 at 2:58 PM

The next thing unions and dems in general will be demanding at the top of their lungs will be “TRANSPARENCY” in the voting process. Not meaning to disallow illegal votes of course, what it would mean is the union thugs, black panthers, etc will be required to stand over your shoulder inside the voting booth as you mark your ballot.

Either that or what I heard one completely idiotic leftist had suggested, that voting in elections be held in small groups with people publicly raising their hands to indicate their vote.

Yeah, liberal fascist dems are pretty transparent alright.

Wolfmoon on June 17, 2012 at 3:06 PM

It appears that the economy is heading for recession again (officially and statistically), so Mitt needs to get on the ball and get his message out there. The misery index grows and grows.

Philly on June 17, 2012 at 3:07 PM

Yawn. Rush made this point a day or two after the election – specifically that union members were lying in exit polls to say they’d voted for Barrett. This is why the exit polls were 6-7 points off.

321mdl on June 17, 2012 at 3:26 PM

Yawn. Rush made this point a day or two after the election – specifically that union members were lying in exit polls to say they’d voted for Barrett. This is why the exit polls were 6-7 points off.

321mdl on June 17, 2012 at 3:26 PM

Wrong.

They were off because very conservative voters ignored the pollster workers (which happens often in exit polling, but this time around they weighted poorly, worse than usual).

joana on June 17, 2012 at 3:47 PM

I’m voting for Romney. I truly wish I had a reason other than ABO.

Wolfen on June 17, 2012 at 4:04 PM

I was in a private sector union, the UFCW local 1035 for 17 years.. and while most members didn’t like talking politics, some did, and they were the yahoo amen chorus for the left wing unionist democrat or death dead enders. I had this one shrew everyday, print out the talking points of every lunatic rabid left wing union site.. and dump it on my work station with a strict admonishment to read and educcate myself.

The pro-union true believers really did see you as either evil or stupid and ignorant. Some would try to browbeat you, but if you’re lucky to be a large enough male, with military training, that would usually scare away the more open threats from their goon squads. Like all bullies, they’re mostly cowards and won’t go after someone who might hurt them back. They like to threaten in groups, like bullies,.. The experiences I had with unions, have soured me on ever thinking they might be a valid case.

They are exactly like the mifia mob families they glued themselves too in the 30′s. They haven’t changed at all.

mark81150 on June 17, 2012 at 4:06 PM

They were off because very conservative voters ignored the pollster workers (which happens often in exit polling, but this time around they weighted poorly, worse than usual).

joana on June 17, 2012 at 3:47 PM

Possibly… I know I have caught myself self censoring in public, and not taliking politics in the open, like in a store or while walking on a public sidewalk with a friend. The reason, if a liberal overheard you, they would usually launch into a nasty tirade against you, the party, and all evil conservatives in general.. it seemed better to just stay quiet than get into a shouting match..

But I learned from Breitbart that that way is letting them win by default.

So screw it, I’ll speak my mind, and if some obnoxious liberal wants to argue and scream at me in public.. he’d better be wearing his big boy underwear. Game on…

mark81150 on June 17, 2012 at 4:15 PM

It is not just an invisible union vote. #1 – The People’s Ridicule Brigade, SNL, Letterman, Behar, etc. No one wants to be ridiculed, but enough is enough with Obama. 2. Racist.

motionview on June 17, 2012 at 4:31 PM

single stack on June 17, 2012 at 2:58 PM

Oh, come on. Of course I’m aware of union thugishness. We see it everyday. But I’ve never heard of anyone using the court system to protect themselves from it and get the unions to do what they’re actually supposed to do. I’d love to read some if you know where I can find stories where that’s actually happened.

NukeRidingCowboy on June 17, 2012 at 4:58 PM

the fear of union bosses is not the only reason obama is polling higher than he should/would/is. perhaps being called a racist yahoo ignorant terorist also has a dampening effect in what people say to pollsters. the libs create this false reality (thru intimidation as well as name calling and group think in league with the MSM)and they can now live in it, with all the cognitive dissonance that it will bring in nov. too bad.

t8stlikchkn on June 17, 2012 at 5:20 PM

So, the union voters won’t say they will vote GOP in a poll.

But, they will say they just voted for the GOP in an exit poll?

Makes no sense.

mockmook on June 17, 2012 at 6:09 PM

The only way out for the unions is card check voting.

unclesmrgol on June 17, 2012 at 6:46 PM

Since the voting booth is the only place the unions can’t enforce “discipline” how long do you think it will be before the left, in the name of preventing vote fraud, call for ballots to be public. You can easily predict the argument, can’t you? “Bush stole the election, Halliburton invested in Diebold, etc etc. The only way to ensure elections is to allow people to look up their votes on a public website.”

SoRight on June 17, 2012 at 7:10 PM

So, the union voters won’t say they will vote GOP in a poll.
But, they will say they just voted for the GOP in an exit poll?
Makes no sense.
mockmook on June 17, 2012 at 6:09 PM

Well, one commenter also said that she misreported in an exit poll too because she feared union goons nearby would harass her. But in most exit polling the voter can be confident of their anonymity.

In pre-election polling, however, a person calls your home number, might ask for you by name and then asks who you’ll be voting for. There is NO assurance of anonymity. Considering the thuggish tactics of unions it would surprise few people to imagine the unions commissioning a survey of their members to find out who’s voting the right way. There’s nothing keeping the “pollster” from then sending a list back to the union — here’s each member’s phone number and here’s who the people in their house are voting for. Next thing you know, your overtime is a distant memory.

It all makes perfect sense.

SoRight on June 17, 2012 at 8:15 PM

Oh, come on. Of course I’m aware of union thugishness. We see it everyday. But I’ve never heard of anyone using the court system to protect themselves from it and get the unions to do what they’re actually supposed to do. I’d love to read some if you know where I can find stories where that’s actually happened.

As a former “union boss” I’ve sat in meetings where such lawsuits were discussed and what to do about them. It wasn’t pretty. In fact, the attitudes and suggestions were downright scary.
Successfully using the law to get unions to do what they’re supposed to do is very rare. When I said some suits are successful I was referring to the awarding of monetary damages, which is also quite rare. Many more such suits are settled when the member is *ahem* “persuaded” to fuggedaboutit. But if a guy “ain’t real smart” well…a lot can happen…yaknowwhutimean?

single stack on June 17, 2012 at 10:09 PM

Could this be replicated in other parts of the country… specifically in the swing states?

You betcha! This swing-state AFSCME member is eager to stop paying dues AND vote for Romney!

I had no choice but to join the union to get the job I have, and I’ve been ready since day 1 to ditch my forced association with the communists that run the AFSCME union. Also, I feel the “union contract” limits my pay.

If I were to be paid based on performance, I’d be near the top (based on performance that I observe of some my peers in the union). Instead, others that do 1/2 to 1/4th as much as I do get the same pay as I do.

E-R

electric-rascal on June 17, 2012 at 11:55 PM

I wrote it, often, here. Many people lie to the pollsters like never before. It will not be a thight election.
Schadenfreude on June 17, 2012 at 1:54 PM

You had better be right.

If not we are all in trouble!

Here’s to hoping you get to crow See? I told you so!
(Many times over, too!)

Sherman1864 on June 18, 2012 at 4:00 AM

I don’t know how typical I am. I am certain to vote in November. But I have absolutely no interest, no matter how anonymously, with telling a pollster about it or why. Most of the time I hang up on them. When I don’t I take them on a ride through Fantasyland just for the hell of it. Usually I am too busy to bother. When I am not I take out my frustrations by answering rather fancifully. (The only honest answers I’ve given in the last year were to the Hot Air polls, as a matter of fact. My participation was at *MY* convenience not somebody else’s. That makes a large difference.)

{^_^}

herself on June 18, 2012 at 4:00 AM

…and the AFSCME has lost 54% of its membership in the last 12 months.

More, please. I’m not anti-union in general (but definitely anti-public employee union). I’m anti-thuggery and anti-abuse of the taxpayers.

SKYFOX on June 18, 2012 at 6:59 AM

While not a subscriber to the Beck channel, I used to catch his program when it was on FOX, and remember one episode, that showed that the world wide “International” unions do not care about how much the American union worker is paid, they would like one world wide wage, which will look like a lot of cash in a third world country, but look like a pittance to our union workers. The union movement in our country is long past the day of worker protection, as our laws protect workers now, and when there is not a recession screwing with market forces, people vote with their feet by taking or leaving jobs. As an international goal to make all workers equal, I would suggest that the crazy talkers are usually right.

I did not believe the crazy talking after the 2008 election, but within months of the Obama inauguration, I coined that phrase in my own philosophy. The crazy talkers are always right.

At it’s extreme the union movement, their rhetoric can only lead to thinking that does not mesh with American traditional thinking, and those people, for instance, I see men who are fire fighters and cops, reject the philosophies of these groups. In MA, they are the Scott Brown voters.

The union men will vote. The women will conveniently forget to vote that day. They will go to soccer and when some other lib woman asks they will lie and say they went to the polls early or that they are going there after this lacrosse game. Such a busy day, “Oops I forgot.”

Why do I think that? I live in MA, and I am watching the psyche and identity factors with several people I know who live in the lib world and they are in denial right now, and say things like, I don’t follow politics day to day, or express wild ideas about being afraid to vote for the bad republican boogeyman because they are *insert racist, phobic, haters, etc.* They get that in the culture of cool/music they listen to and from the liberal media. A person said to me they would not know what was true about Romney so they would not be able to vote, citing identity values, like “I would not see myself a nice person if I voted for a Hater” (Anti Gay marriage, like Obama USED to be) so I won’t be voting. The paradox being that they hope others will rescue them and don’t see a responsibility to give Obama a shove out the door.

I think we will see a lot more Obama tactics aimed at the emotions of these people, and going after the psyche of Identity voters. You cannot be a good person unless you vote for him. But that tactic backfires if they only way to feel like a good person, when you are torn about the economy not recovering is to pretend voting day is not happening. I do get the feeling that Obama voters are suffering in the economy just like everyone else. Every day.

Fleuries on June 18, 2012 at 9:16 AM

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