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Republicans have taken a more favorable view of labor unions in recent years, but that hasn’t stopped the party from attacking unionized teachers at the recent GOP presidential debate, with one candidate vowing to “break the back” of the teachers’ unions.

In the most recent results of the Gallup Social Series published ahead of Labor Day, support for unions is highest among Democrats and lowest among Republicans. Support among Republicans was 47 percent, down from 56 percent in the same poll a year ago but broadly on an upward trajectory since 2009, when it stood at  29 percent.

The Republican Party has sought to recalibrate its brand in the Donald Trump era, courting working class voters and even making a play for union endorsements. Earlier this summer, Trump released a video asking the United Auto Workers for its support. (The union has yet to publicly back a candidate, but it endorsed Joe Biden in 2020.)

Yet the GOP’s overtures toward unionized workers does not extend to educators, who form a broad swath of the unionized workforce and remain one of the party’s top targets. That’s probably in no small part because of GOP disapproval of the state of public education as well as the unions’ strong alliance with the Democratic Party.

Fully 74 percent of those the pollsters described as Republicans and Republican-leaning independents were either somewhat or completely dissatisfied with educational quality, another survey by Gallup found.

The GOP’s animosity toward teachers’ unions was on full display last month, when Republican presidential candidates held their first debate. Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie accused unionized teachers of “putting themselves before our kids” and Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina said breaking the back of teachers’ unions is the only way to change education. The unions, Scott added, “are standing in the doorhouse of our kids, locking them in failing schools, and locking them out of the greatest future they can have.”

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