Poll shows majority of Americans favour auto industry, Hollywood strikes

This support extends across the political spectrum, with significant backing from both Democrats and Republicans

By
Web Desk
Actor Karen Brown walks the picket line with fellow SAG-AFTRA actors and Writers Guild of America writers in front of Paramount Studios in Los Angeles, July 17, 2023.—Reuters/File
Actor Karen Brown walks the picket line with fellow SAG-AFTRA actors and Writers Guild of America writers in front of Paramount Studios in Los Angeles, July 17, 2023.—Reuters/File

According to a two-day Reuters/Ipsos survey conducted until Wednesday, there is widespread support among Americans for striking workers in both the auto industry and Hollywood, Reuters reported. 

This support extends across the political spectrum, with significant backing from both Democrats and Republicans.

The poll revealed that 58% of Americans endorse the unprecedented simultaneous strike conducted by the United Auto Workers union against major automakers Ford Motor, General Motors, and Stellantis (Chrysler's parent company). 

The aim of the strike is to secure improved pay and benefits, with 32% of respondents opposing the action, and 10% unsure.

Similarly, 60% of Americans express support for the dual strikes initiated by screenwriters and actors in the entertainment industry to attain better pay and safeguards. Meanwhile, 27% of respondents oppose these strikes, and 13% are uncertain.

Notably, Democrats, who have traditionally aligned themselves with labour unions, exhibit strong support for the striking workers. 

A substantial 72% of self-identified Democrats express their backing for the auto workers' strike, and 79% support the Hollywood strike.

Surprisingly, a significant number of Republicans also express their support for the striking workers, despite the Republican Party's historical alignment with pro-business policies and a more sceptical stance towards liberal views often associated with Hollywood celebrities.

The poll reveals that 48% of Republicans endorse the auto workers' strike, while 47% oppose it. Additionally, 46% of Republicans support the Hollywood strikes, with 46% against.

This divide within the Republican Party is reflected in the competition for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. 

Former President Donald Trump, who leads by a substantial margin, plans to skip the upcoming candidates' debate on September 27 in favour of addressing auto workers and other blue-collar union members. 

Other candidates, such as Nikki Haley and Tim Scott, have expressed reservations about the demands of the auto workers.

Democratic President Joe Biden, who has voiced support for the United Auto Workers and urged auto companies to make greater concessions to the striking workers, has made outreach to labour unions a central element of his 2024 reelection campaign. 

In the 2020 election, he garnered 57% of the vote from union households, compared to 40% for Trump.

The poll coincides with an increase in union activism in the United States, with 310,000 workers involved in work stoppages through August, potentially making 2023 the busiest year for strikes since 2019.

Furthermore, the survey reveals a general inclination towards supporting the labour movement, despite private-sector union membership remaining historically low in the United States. Sixty-one percent of respondents believe that labour unions have enhanced the quality of life for all Americans, while only 35% think that labour unions are no longer necessary. 

Two-thirds of respondents agree that the pay of CEOs and workers should increase equally, a central theme of the United Auto Workers' strike.

The online poll was conducted among 1,005 US adults from September 19 to September 20. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points, and for Democratic and Republican responses, the margin of error is 6 percentage points.