By Andy Sullivan
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Americans broadly back striking workers in the auto industry and Hollywood, according to a two-day Reuters/Ipsos poll completed on Wednesday that found significant support among both Democrats and Republicans.
The poll found that 58% of Americans support the first-ever simultaneous strike by the United Auto Workers union against Ford Motor, General Motors and Chrysler parent Stellantis to win better pay and benefits, while 32% oppose the action and 10% were unsure.
Similarly, 60% of Americans support the dual strikes by screenwriters and actors to win better pay and protections in the entertainment industry, while 27% oppose it and 13% were unsure.
The poll found especially strong support among Democrats, who have traditionally allied with labor unions. Some 72% of self-identified Democrats said they backed the auto workers strike and 79% said they supported the Hollywood strike.
A large number of Republicans also said they backed the striking workers, even though their party has traditionally advanced pro-business policies and taken a skeptical view of the liberal views espoused by many Hollywood celebrities.
The poll found that 48% of Republicans backed the auto workers strike, while 47% opposed it. Similarly, 46% said they supported the Hollywood strikes and 46% said they did not.
That divide has been reflected in the battle for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. Former President Donald Trump, who leads the field by a wide margin, plans to skip the next candidates’ debate on Sept. 27 and instead give a speech to auto workers and other blue-collar union members.
Other candidates like Nikki Haley and Tim Scott have said the auto workers are asking for too much.
Democratic President Joe Biden, who has sided with the UAW and called on auto companies to concede more to striking workers, has made union outreach a central part of his 2024 reelection bid. He won 57% of union households in the 2020 election, compared with 40% for Trump, according to Edison Research.
The poll comes as the United States has seen an uptick in union activism. Through August — before the UAW strike — 310,000 U.S. workers were involved in work stoppages, putting 2023 on track to become the busiest year for strikes since 2019.
The poll also found broad support for the labor movement in general, even though private-sector union membership remains at historical lows in the United States.
Some 61% of respondents said labor unions have improved the quality of life for all Americans, while only 35% said labor unions were no longer necessary.
Two-thirds said pay for CEOs and workers should go up equally — a central talking point of the UAW strike.
The online poll of 1,005 U.S. adults was conducted between Sept. 19 and Sept. 20. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points, and 6 percentage points for Democratic and Republican responses.
(Reporting by Andy Sullivan; Editing by Scott Malone and Deepa Babington)
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