The AFL-CIO will be knocking on 5.5 million doors, making 5.2 million phone calls, and handing out 2 million leaflets at worksites in just the final four days before the election, the labor federation’s political director, Michael Podhorzer, and national campaigns manager, Sasha Bruce, announced on a press call Friday morning. More than 128,000 volunteers are expected to take part in this effort. This final four-day push comes on the heels of a major effort to register union members to vote and an ongoing campaign that has battleground state early voting by union members ahead of where it was in 2008 or 2010.
And these totals don’t count additional houses that will be visited by community affiliate Working America, which will total 1 million doors knocked between late August and election day.
An internal poll of both union members and non-union members who have been contacted by the AFL-CIO or its Super PAC, Workers’ Voice, in Ohio, Wisconsin, and Nevada finds that 54 percent of union members believe President Barack Obama has a better understanding of their everyday struggles, to 16 percent saying Mitt Romney does. Among non-union members polled, it was 50 percent Obama to 20 percent Romney. Among union members, 62 percent trusted Obama to do a better job handling the economy to 27 percent for Romney; non-union members were 48 percent to 39 percent for Obama. Obama had wider margins with both groups when they were asked about Medicare and Medicaid.
The AFL-CIO is also carrying out a major direct-mail campaign; Sam Stein got a look at mail pieces going to Connecticut, Indiana, Massachusetts, Ohio, New Hampshire, Washington, and Wisconsin and reports that:
[O]n occasion, they paint a dim portrait of the current economy—in more depressed terms than the president and his campaign would use—with warnings that Romney would take send it into a free-fall.”We know things are bad,” reads an AFL-CIO mailer targeting House races. “We just can’t let them get worse.”
The message reflects the union federation’s belief that workers don’t necessarily want to be told that their personal circumstances are improving, even if the broader economic picture is looking brighter. It also underscores the belief that economic fear can still be used as a political motivator to get out the working class vote.
As the list of states these mailers are going to shows, the AFL-CIO’s program is not just about reelecting Obama but about winning key gubernatorial races and getting what Podhorzer described as a Senate that’s “as progressive as possible.” In fact, the AFL-CIO program will reach 25 states and focus on races down to the state legislative level.You can be part of this effort.
Laura Clawson is labor editor for Daily Kos, where this post originally appeared.