In a discussion of how various constituency groups will vote in the upcoming presidential election, FOX News Channel host and radio host Bill O'Reilly falsely claimed that only "union leadership" votes Democratic, not "rank and file" union members. "[U]nions always vote for the Democrats," O'Reilly said on the August 10 edition of the nationally syndicated The Radio Factor. "The union leadership always goes that way. Rank and file don't, but union leadership always does."
The truth is that a strong majority of all union members voted for former Democratic Vice President Al Gore in 2000. According to exit polls from the 2000 presidential election, 62 percent of union members voted for Gore compared to 34 percent for then-Governor George W. Bush. Among all voters with a union member in their household, 59 percent voted for Gore compared to 37 percent for Bush. An October 2003 survey (pdf) by The Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania's National Annenberg Election Survey found similar results: "[I]n 2000, voters from union households preferred Al Gore to George W. Bush by 58 to 36 percent."