As the House takes up a version of SB 5, it might be worthwhile to think about the number of “conversion stories” we’re hearing from union members, and to give those stories some context.

According to 2010 exit polls, 26% of the votes cast in Ohio were by voters in union households. Many have assumed labor to be overwhelmingly in support of Democrats, but at the level of individual voters, that’s not really been the case. Among union household voters, at least 45% voted for Rob Portman, and at least 31% voted for Kasich. So let’s do a little math… we can make an estimate of the lower bound of the proportion of swing voters by saying at least 14% of union household voters split their ticket between Portman and Strickland. This is a lower bound because many who voted for both Kasich and Portman will not be reliable GOP votes in 2012, but for the sake of argument, we’ll assume that 31% can’t be flipped to the Dem Side and 55% can’t be flipped to the GOP side. 14% of 26% is 3.64%. That number is now our estimate of the number of a) union household voters who were b) Republicans downticket, but c) willing to vote for a Dem.

Flip that 3.64% from GOP to Dem, and you get a 7.3% swing in the vote percentages. So, if you happened to win a House seat as a Republican in a typical Ohio district, and you won by fewer than 7 percentage points, you probably owe your seat to flippable union households. In case you’re wondering, that list would include:

Craig Newbold – 01
Mike Dovilla – 18
Mike Duffy – 21
Lynn Slaby – 41
Kristina Roegner – 42
Ron Young – 63
Bill Hayes – 91
Al Landis – 96
Casey Kozlowski – 99

in addition, two won with less than 53.5% of the vote in 3-way races:

Marlene Anielski – 17
Anne Gonzales – 19

Know what else they have in common? Not one of the eleven is currently term-limited. So, as things move along, I’ll be interested to see the positions these folks take. There’s nothing like an anti-collective bargaining vote to flip a flippable union household. Of the 27 reps from Cuyahoga, Franklin and Summit, 9 are Republicans. You’ll find 6 of those on this list. If one of them is your Rep, you might want to put some pressure on them even if you might think they’re ideologically unreachable.

 

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