Union voters were critical in President-elect Obama’s victory, providing a crucial bloc of support in swing states that helped him win big, election night polling released Nov. 5 by the AFL-CIO showed. In their announcement of the results, union leaders promised to continue their largest-ever election mobilization to push for broad support of Obama’s program for economic reform.

The Peter D. Hart poll commissioned by the federation showed that high turnout among working class union voters in states like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan formed a solid foundation of support for Obama. Hart’s analysis of his poll results indicated that in new battleground states like Colorado, Virginia, North Carolina and Florida, a bigger-than-ever labor effort, “voting by large margins for Obama and joined with young people and other new voters, union members helped build a new majority for economic fairness.”

Union members across battleground states supported Obama by an impressive 68-30 margin, according to the election night survey.

Other key findings from the survey include:

Obama won among white men who are union members by 18 points while losing that group by 16 points in the general public.

Obama won among union gun owners by a 12 point margin while losing that group in the general public by 25 points.

Union veterans voted for Obama by a 25 point margin. He lost among that group in the general public by nine points.

Working America members voted 67-30 for Obama. Working America gun owners (33 percent own guns) voted 23 points for Obama; general public gun owners voted 25 points for McCain.

Sixty percent of union members identified the economy and jobs as their top issue.
Union members identified protecting pensions and Social Security and reducing health care costs as the top priorities for the new administration.

Seventy-five percent say the new president and Congress have a mandate to strengthen the economy, create jobs and reform health care.

Eighty-one percent of union members support passing the Employee Free Choice Act.