CommunityThe Bullpen

Union Voter Registration, Deferred Action Response Possible Boosts for Democrats

Two items that have nothing to do with last night’s debate could end up having a greater impact on the Presidential race (or, at least, Democrats hope so).

First, before the debate, when asked to elaborate on his new position that he would not cancel the deferred action status for DREAM-eligible immigrants, Mitt Romney added that he would stop accepting new immigrants into the program on inauguration day:

A Romney campaign official confirmed a report from the Boston Globe, telling TPM it is “correct” that Romney would stop the program for young immigrants who did not receive a temporary work permit under President Obama. “Gov. Romney is committed to replacing the president’s temporary action with permanent reform,” the official, who requested anonymity, said.

The New York Times also received confirmation of Romney’s new position on the policy.

This puts a time limit for those seeking the two-year relief, in the event of a Romney Presidency. That should boost applications into the program in the short term. But it also gives the immigrant community and their eligible-voter compatriots a strong reason to vote for President Obama, to ensure the continuation of the program. Going into last night, the President led Romney by 50 points among Latinos.

Second, unions have changed their strategy from a television-based model to more of an organizing model. They put a lot of money into elements like canvassing and membership in their Working America grassroots organization. That may have paid off, with the announcement of 450,000 new registered union household voters.

The AFL-CIO says it has registered more than 450,000 new voters from union households over the past 18 months, part of an ambitious push to swell the ranks of Democratic-leaning voters and help President Barack Obama win reelection.

The tally includes about 68,000 new voters in Ohio—one of the most contested battleground states this year—and thousands of other union-friendly voters in swing states like Colorado and Nevada.

“That’s an amazing number,” said Paul Beck, a political science professor at Ohio State University. “In an era of declining union membership, one wouldn’t think there would be many new targets out there.”

Union households connotes that this includes spouses and voting-age children. Obama beat McCain 60-40 among union households in 2008, similar to the Democratic advantage from the previous two election cycles. But that does increase this year. Because unions, battered by a series of fights since 2011, have put an emphasis on fighting back at the ballot box. It’s impossible to be in a union household and not be strongly political at this point. Union households now have 75% voter registration, right up there near the high, and 10 points above the national average.

Previous post

Slow Dance On The Cutting Room Floor

Next post

Delegation of American Activists Confronts US Drone Strike Policy in Pakistan

David Dayen

David Dayen