How labor delivered for the Democrats

November 10, 2006

Tula Connell on Kos has a really good piece on the contribution made by organised labour for the Democrats in the mid-term elections.

The union movement made a big difference Nov. 7. We waged a massive GOTV effort, reaching an unprecedented 13.4 million voters in 32 states. Since the beginning of the year, the AFL-CIO union movement has involved 205,000 volunteers who have:

  • Knocked on the doors of 8.25 million union voters
  • Made 30 million phones calls to union voters
  • Mailed 20 million pieces of mail to union homes
  • Distributed 14 million worksite fliers

The result of this was:

While nonunion voters provided a two-point margin of victory for Democratic candidates, union households made it a five-point difference–turning a modest victory into a wave. Union households voted 74 percent to 26 percent for Democratic candidates–and union members made up one in four voters. In key battleground Senate races, union members voted 73 percent to 27 percent for Democrats.

The research showed that :

76 percent of union members who were contacted by their union voted Democrat compared to 61 percent of those who weren’t.

Together with community organisations, unions were at the forefront of campaigns for wage raise ballots. In Arizona 94 percent of union members supported wage raises. The Daily has already reported on the importance of those ballots in mobilising Democratic voters.

Turnout was higher among unionised casual voters following the AFL-CIO’s focus on them.

Working America, the unions’ community affiliate, has 1.5 million new members. 80 percent of those who didn’t vote in 2002 voted this time around. They voted 80 percent Democrat.

There’s lots of info in her piece. It’s really worth looking through.


Vote US – was it the minimum wage wot won it?

November 8, 2006

It’s been an exciting night for progressives with an eye on the US mid-term elections. When the final Daily chimp blew out the candle on his desk and hit the hay, it was all in the balance in Virginia and Montana, and the Republicans still leading in Montana. The latest figures are showing Democrat Jon Tester with his nose ahead of incumbent Conrad Burns by a mere 5,000-odd votes. Webb is also still just ahead of Allen in Virginia.

A big part of Rove’s strategy in previous elections has been the use of initiative votes to galvanise and mobilise the Republican base on issues such as gay marriage and abortion. This year, it seems that one of the decisive factors in this year’s races may have been ballot initiatives on the minimum wage. The Democrats have made the raising of the federal minimum wage one of their big campaigning issues.

Daily Kos have figures for some of the ballot initiatives. Although they’ve headlined on South Dakota’s rejection of new anti-abortion laws, the minimum wage initiatives in three states may be more interesting for the overall results of the election.
Missouri voted 75% Yes; 25% No to raise the minimum wage.
Montana voted 74% Yes; 26% No
Ohio 56% Yes; 44% No

Montana seems to have been the closest race in the Senate for the Democrats. If Tester does sneak it, then surely having this issue mobilising his voters must have been a big factor.


US mid-term election round up

November 2, 2006

With less than a week to go until the mid-term elections in the States, we thought we’d cast a quick eye over the Senatorial races.

Kos published the latest polling on some of the key Senatorial races earlier today. They seem to confirm that, although the House seems in their grasp (barring John Kerry saying anything else between now and polling day), the Senate is still a tough prospect.

The magic number is six net gains for the Democrats to take back the Senate. Polls show the Dems still leading in three of the four Republican seats where they’ve been best placed, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Rhode Island. The Montana lead has dwindled to a statistical tie.

Pennsylvania (R*) Zogby for Reuters. Santorum (R) 40 (36) Casey (D) 48 (48) – some bounce back for the GOP, but they’re surely too far back on this one.
Ohio (R) Zogby for Reuters. DeWine (R) 42 (41) Brown (D) 49 (41)
Rhode Island (R) Zogby for Reuters. Chafee (R) 39 (41) Whitehouse (D) 53 (45)
Montana (R) Zogby for Reuters. Burns (R) 46 (42) Tester (D) 47 (46)

In the two races where Democratic Senate seats have been at risk, the danger seems to have abated.

New Jersey (D) Zogby for Reuters. Menendez (D) 49 (46) Kean (R) 37 (35).
Maryland (D) Zogby for Reuters. Cardin (D) 49 (45) Steele (R) 44 (37). This is an open seat and the Republicans are reportly pouring money in. They’ve brought it back, but surely too late.

This leaves three states, Missouri, Tennessee and Virginia, likely to decide the control of the US Senate. If the Democrats can hold Maryland and New Jersey and take the four key states, then they will have to take two of these states.

Missouri (R) Rasmussen. Talent (R) 47 (48) McCaskill (D) 48 (46). Zogby for Reuters. Talent (R) 43 (43) McCaskill (D) 46 (48). A statistical tie, but both show the Democrat in the lead.
Tennessee (R) Rasmussen. Corker (R) 49 (47) Ford (D) 47 (46) Zogby for Reuters. Corker (R) 53 (40) Ford (D) 43 (40). 
Virginia (R) Zogby for Reuters. Allen (R) 44 (48) Webb (D) 45 (37). Another statistical tie.

Arizona could also be interesting as, although the GOP candidate Jon Kyl has a 6 point lead, the Dems are pumping in money and sending top personnel as early voting patterns show Pederson, the Democrat, leads in absentee ballots cast.

It’s tantalising as, if the poll results were replicated exactly in the election, the Democrats would win. With several of these races too close to call, we’ll just have to wait for the fat lady to sing.

In other election news, Lieberman is still leading as an independent in Connecticut.  Zogby for Reuters. Lieberman (CfL) 49 (53) Lamont (D) 37 (33) Schlesinger (R) 8 (4) . It’s pretty unlikely that Lamont can claw it back at this stage as Lieberman seems to have a loyal rump of supporters, together with a big chunk of the Republican vote, to give him a majority.

Lamont’s last faint hope is probably in the scandal that’s brewing over huge spending irregularities in Lieberman’s Democratic primary campaign. It seems that the $387,000  in petty cash payments that Lieberman made in the dying days of his failed re-nomination attempts may have been illegal.

Lieberman’s probable re-election, however, will be interesting as his vote could end up deciding who controls the Senate.

In the meantime, for old time’s sake, we thought we’d leave you with Lamont’s latest campaign video.

After Mr Smith Goes to Washington:

*Some of these races are open as the incumbent has stood down. I’m still marking them with the party of the incumbent.


Poll puts Democrats way ahead among independent voters

October 24, 2006

The Washington Post carries the news that independent voters are now favouring the Democratic Party by a margin of two to one.

59 percent of independents said that they planned to vote for Democrats, versus 31 percent for the GOP. It also found that 95 percent of Democratic supporters plan to vote for their party versus 88 percent for the Republicans.

Iraq is the most cited issue that voters cite when making up their mind, with 76 percent of those who mention the issue of Iraq siding with the Democrats.

Some other interesting stats from the tables:

Enthusiasm for the parties among their voters seems pretty even with 38 percent of Dems very and 40 fairly enthusiastic about their party compared to 39 and 41 percent among Republicans.

A far higher proportion of Democratic voters say they are voting against the Republican candidate (43 percent), than Republicans who are voting against the Democrat (25 percent).

The issues ranked by importance by registered voters were: Iraq (27%), Economy (19%), terrorism (14%), healthcare (13%), immigration (10%) and ethics in government (8%).

65 percent disapprove of the way that the House is doing its job, with 31 percent approving – only 5 percent strongly (compared to only 43% disapproving and 51% approving in the run-up to the ’02 mid-terms). However, caution is important on this stat as only 32 percent disapprove of the job their Representative is doing, although 48 percent of voters say that their vote will be to express either support (17%) or opposition (31%) to Bush. Clinton was never such a factor during his eight years as president.

 Lastly (although there is more good stuff in the poll) the Democrats now lead the Republicans on public perception of their ability to handle: The situation in Iraq (48%/40%); The economy (50%/41%); Ethics in government (48%/35 %), and; The situation with North Korea (47%/40%). They are pretty much tied with the GOP on “The U.S. campaign against terrorism” (44%/43%).


Trade union pop quiz

October 5, 2006

Are any British trade unionists cool enough to get on Jonathan Ross?  Andy Stern of the American trade union, the SEIU, showed how it is done on the Colbert Report last night.


Taking diplomacy too far

September 22, 2006

The Daily was amused to see President Musharraf of Pakistan keeping a lid on his temper today.  According to the President, the US threatened to bomb his country “back to the Stone Age” if it didn’t co-operate with the War on Terror.  Quite a serious threat, but Pervez didn’t get carried away – his response was: “I thought it was a very rude remark”.  Nice.


New York Times to endorse Lieberman opponent

July 29, 2006

We could be a week or so away from a damning indictment of the Iraq war from America’s own voters.  We have written about the Connecticut primary election between Democrat Vice-Presidential candidate Joe “Jomentum” Lieberman and cable-entrepreneur and anti-war campaigner Ned Lamont. 

But now, according to bloggers in the US, the New York Times is set to endorse Lamont. I am sure an American reader will correct this if it is wrong but it would not be unlike the Guardian coming out for John McDonnell.  Its big news and should be seen as a blow to pro-war politicians on the left.