AFL-CIO's post-election figures show substantial union turnout for Mondale
Organized labor, in sharp disagreement with other election analyses, says union members voted 61 percent to 39 percent for Democratic candidate Walter Mondale over President Reagan in the Nov. 6 presidential election. Exit polls on election day, most by television networks and newspapers, recorded a much narrower union vote for Mr. Mondale, about 53 to 47 percent.
Commenting on the AFL-CIO analysis released this week, AFL-CIO president Lane Kirkland said the union vote was ''heartening,'' but he added: ''There are just not enough of us.'' Labor's Mondale vote, after intensive campaigning, will be an important matter on the agenda at AFL-CIO executive council meetings in Florida in February. Not all unions are happy about the federation's early Mondale endorsement.
The AFL-CIO announced its support for Mondale in October 1983, nine months before he won the Democratic nomination. The endorsement committed affiliated unions to campaign only for Mondale in state primaries and caucuses at the convention and afterward.
Mr. Kirkland said Nov. 27 that the AFL-CIO strategy had turned out labor and allied voters for Mondale and other Democrats, and that the efforts were ''remarkable in the face of the sizable move in the opposite direction (toward conservatism) on the part of other voters.''
He added that the early endorsement of Mondale does not mean that similar strategy will be used in the future. Unions will have to decide ''in solidarity'' whether to endorse a candidate before the primaries.
It is likely that no firm decision will be made at the executive council meetings, but that discussions ''will serve to clear the air somewhat on political policy,'' according to one member.
The AFL-CIO surveys were conducted by Peter D. Hart Research Associates and Fingerhut-Granados Opinion Research. They polled AFL-CIO households and union members, respectively.
According to a compilation of the surveys, Mondale's greatest labor support among unionists came in the Midwest (64 percent) and West (63 percent), and the least in the East (58 percent) and South (59 percent). More women members than men voted for Mondale (68 to 58 percent); more blacks than whites (94 to 56); more of those over 65 than those under 35 (68 to 54); more in low-income groups, under $15,000 a year (71 percent) than in the middle-income groups that now include most union members; and more longtime union members (at least 11 years) than relatively new members.