Could unions be getting more popular? New poll shows surge in support

According to a Jan. 4-9 poll, 60 percent of the American public has a favorable opinion of labor unions, while 35 percent have an unfavorable opinion. That’s the second highest level of support ever found for unions in this particular survey, which has been conducted off-and-on since 1985, sponsored by the Pew Research Center. It’s also a big jump in union support since March 2015, the last time the survey was conducted, when 48 percent were favorable toward unions and 39 percent unfavorable.

The survey was conducted by telephone January 4-9 among a national sample of 1,502 adults. Results were also broken down by age, party affiliation, education, and income.

Young people were far more likely than older adults to view labor unions favorably: Three-quarters of those aged 18 to 29 say they have a favorable opinion of labor unions, while only 53 percent of those 50 and older do.

The survey also found that 76 percent of Democrats hold a favorable view of unions, compared to 44 percent of Republicans. But even among Republicans, the young were more likely to have a favorable view of labor unions: 55 percent of under-30 Republicans looked favorably on unions, compared to 32 percent of those 50 and older. Meanwhile, 49 percent Republicans without a college degree favored unions, compared to 28 percent of college-educated Republicans.

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