A slim majority of Americans, 52%, approve of labor unions, unchanged from 2010 and 2011, and up only slightly from the all-time low of 48% in 2009. Americans had been far more approving of unions before 2009 than they have in the last few years.
Gallup first asked Americans whether they approved of labor unions in 1936, and 72% did at that time. Labor union approval peaked at 75% in January 1957, and remained above 60% until 1978. Approval held just below 60% through 1991, and generally hovered around the 60% mark through 2008. The drop in approval to 48% occurred in 2009, the first year of Obama's presidency and after the 2008-2009 financial crisis and recession.
Union approval has always varied by party. Currently, 74% of Democrats, 48% of independents, and 31% of Republicans say they approve of unions.
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