Some education observers think President Obama's desire for
education reform has put him at odds with teachers unions, which
prefer the status quo.
Analysts also believe that the president's
appointment of reform-minded Education Secretary Arne Duncan is
another sore spot with the unions. But Neal McCluskey of the Cato Institute
doubts that will erode support for President Obama this election
"If the unions don't vote for the Democrats, where are they
going to go? I suppose the concern is that they'll just sit out
elections, or they won't provide assistance getting out the vote
and things like that, but there's no real option," he offers. "So,
they can be kind of taken for granted."
And McCluskey notes that the degree of union enthusiasm during
the upcoming election could be a factor.
"The way it could make a difference is if the unions don't
provide a whole lot of foot soldiers and a whole lot of energy on
getting out the vote and going out to visit people and make sure
that they know to vote for Obama, and then bringing people the
polls -- it's how much leg work will they do rather than whether or
not they'll vote for Obama," the analyst suggests.
Despite the differences, McCluskey believes union members will
campaign hard for President Obama's re-election to keep Mitt Romney
out of the White House.