We’ve talked a lot about who might be sympathetic to unions (union members, obviously) but we haven’t talked about people who are not union members but might be attracted to the broad idea of “collective bargaining” or “labor rights”, or how that might split along age lines.
This is a pre-poll release write up at TPM:
We’ve all gotten used to polls in recent years that show Democrats with their strongest support among younger voters and Republicans with their best numbers among older voters. But I think most of us sort of implicitly figure this is significantly tied to what we call social issues — gay rights, sexual politics, racial politics, etc.
But when you look at this poll the pro-union / anti-union division turns heavily on age too. The younger votes have a far more progressive views on public employees, unions, collective bargaining and so on. That’s not great news in general for Republicans. But for those of us with somewhat longer political memories this is actually pretty different from the way things used to be in the ’80s and ’90s. Back then it was older voters who tended to have more Democratic views on bread and butter economic issues. And it was younger voters who had more libertarian inclinations.
Another key detail — the poll shows younger voters being generally more supportive of unions and collective bargaining rights than those in older demographics. That’s a reversal of what is often assumed to be the case — younger voters tilting liberal on social issues, while older voters lean liberal on the labor issues.
For example, 63% of respondents aged 18-39 opposed weakening collective bargaining rights, while 46% of respondents in both the 40-64 year-old and 65+ demographics said the same.
Younger people, who have heard virtually no pro-labor voices in media and perhaps don’t belong to a union, seem to be attracted to the general ideas behind unions. I’m wondering if that has anything to do with their experience in Great Depression II. And this isn’t very young, exclusively. It’s 18 to 39, so it’s working people.
Or, maybe, they’re just repelled by Walker as an individual and adopt whatever stance is opposite his?