At the beginning of the Labor Day weekend, Gallup reported that support for unions among Americans dropped to their lowest level in the 72 years that Gallup has surveyed on the question. On Labor Day itself, Rasmussen corroborates Gallup’s support number at 48%, still a plurality but one of only six points over opposition to labor unions. Only 13% of Americans now believe that Labor Day is one of the most important holidays in the year:
Just 13% of Americans now believe that Labor Day is one of the nation’s most important holidays, down seven points from a year ago.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that even more adults (20%) say Labor Day is one of the country’s least important holidays, while 65% say it’s somewhere in between.
By comparison, 44% say Memorial Day, which unofficially begins summer but more importatntly honors those who gave their lives for our country, is one of the nation’s most important holidays.
Interestingly, more Republicans consider it important (16%) than Democrats (13%). Only 8% of independents considered it important. The number declined as respondents got older, from 16% in the 18-29 set to 10% of 65+ voters.
Labor support had much more interesting internals. Not surprisingly, the biggest booster among demographics came from government workers, who support unions 68%, with strong support at 27%. Majority support also comes from blacks, Democrats, both men and women under 40 (although not men overall), private contractors, unmarrieds and those without children, and workers who made less than $20K as well as those making between $60-100K.
However, most of those majorities are very thin indeed. Five years ago, Gallup had overall support for unions at 65%, for a drop of 17 points in five years. Rasmussen’s internals only show four demographics with support at 60% or better:
- Government workers – 68%
- Democrats – 64%
- Blacks – 63%
- Under $20K income – 60%
All of those numbers look fairly anemic, but especially Democrats. The unions practically keep them in business, and yet 24% of them see unions unfavorably, with 11% unsure. Those numbers are not a fluke; Gallup has almost the same number for support among Democrats, 66%.
Why the drop? As I wrote on Friday, unions had plenty of political support as long as they focused (publicly, at least) on the concerns of workers rather than adopting political agendas largely irrelevant to them. When Big Labor explicitly began adopting the role of Democratic Party enforcers, a role seen in the town-hall forums of August, their support began dropping precipitously. Their anti-democratic push to eliminate secret ballots in union organizing elections may have been the last straw, but the violence they created at the town-hall forums may actually wind up being even worse for their public relations.
In other words, they have yet to hit bottom.