Gallup poll finds Americans' approval for labor unions rising under Biden administration

Craig Harris

Americans' approval of labor unions has been trending upward in recent years and is at its highest point in more than half a century, according to recent Gallup poll.

Gallup, a global analytics and advice firm well known for its polling, found that approval among Democrats has risen over the past year as President Joe Biden has said he expects his administration to be one of the most pro-union in history.

Gallup has measured the public's rating of labor unions periodically beginning in 1936 and then annually since 2001, and more Americans have expressed approval than disapproval in every reading. The organization's annual Work and Education poll conducted Aug. 2-17, 2021, found:

♦At least 68% of Americans approve of labor unions, statistically similar to last year's finding of 65%. The current reading is the highest since Gallup found a 71% approval in 1965.

♦Approval has increased among nearly all major demographic subgroups since 2016, with the one exception being labor union members, whose approval has been no lower than 75% since 2001. Currently, 86% of union members approve of unions, down from the recent high of 93% in 2019.

♦Approval is relatively high among young adults aged 18-34 (77%) and those with annual household incomes under $40,000 (72%).

♦Democrats are the most approving of unions. Their latest approval of 90% is the highest it has been in the past two decades and is up seven points since last year.

♦Republicans' (47%) and independents' (66%) approval is essentially unchanged from a year ago. Each partisan group's current approval of unions is more than 20 points higher than its lowest 2001-2020 rating.

In 1953, when overall approval reached the all-time high of 75%, Democrats' approval was 79% and Republicans' approval was 64%.

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