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Workers Win, Corporate Interests Lose in the Election

Peter D. Hart Poll Shows Voters’ Strong Support for Employee Free Choice Act Despite Corporate Attack Campaign

November 6, 2008

Josh Goldstein
202-822-2127 x118
954-254-4900 (Cell)
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»Results from a Survey Among Voters in Senate Battleground States, Peter D. Hart Research Associates (PDF)
»Commentary and Analysis by David Bonior (View/PDF)
»Presentation: Anti-Employee Free Choice Act Ads Failed to Affect Senate Races (View)

Washington, DC – Despite an extraordinary $20 million spent in nine battleground states to defeat candidates who support the Employee Free Choice Act, voters soundly rejected this misleading anti-union campaign from corporate interests and overwhelmingly backed candidates who support working families. A poll by Peter D. Hart Research Associates commissioned by American Rights at Work shows that anti-union advertising was among the least important factors in determining voters’ choices for Senate, and further indicated that they continue to support making it easier for workers to join unions.

Throughout this historic campaign season, the economy has been the most dominant issue on the minds of American voters. But as the middle class bore the burden of this struggling economy, corporate interest groups have vigorously fought to mislead the public on the Employee Free Choice Act – a reasonable legislative proposal that would help restore balance in this economy by making it easier for workers to form unions.

According to David Bonior, Chair of American Rights at Work, “No matter how hard corporate interests tried to mislead voters, it just didn’t work. State by state, millions were spent, but the fact remains the Employee Free Choice Act never became the wedge issue corporate interests sought.”

In fact, not only did the opponents of the Employee Free Choice Act fail to affect these races, often those candidates supporting the bill steadily rose in the polls despite massive advertising on the issue.

The poll reveals that 60 percent of voters believe even in these tough economic times, it is important to pass the Employee Free Choice Act, and nearly one-third (31 percent) of voters strongly believe it should be a priority for Congress. President-elect Barack Obama has already signaled his strong support of the measure: “I've fought to pass the Employee Free Choice Act in the Senate. And I will make it the law of the land when I'm President of the United States of America” (Philadephia, 4/2/08). Newly-elected Senators Kay Hagen, Mary Landrieu, Jeff Merkley, Jeanne Shaheen, and Mark Udall also voiced their strong support for the bill, despite the millions of dollars spent in a misleading campaign waged against them for their stance.

“We have only seen the beginning of the fight to restore workers’ rights in this country as we can expect more sound and fury from opponents of this bill,” Bonior commented. “But voters have clearly spoken. In our current economic climate, the American public is hungry for measures to strengthen the middle class, and our new Congress should heed this call and make it a priority to pass the Employee Free Choice Act.”