The average American's support of labor unions crept up this year from an all-time low, but still only slightly more than half favor the existence of labor unions.

That's the latest from a Gallup poll conducted just before Labor Day. During the recession, union approval fell to 48 percent — the lowest since 1936, when Gallup began asking Americans how they felt about labor unions. This year, unions got a 53 percent approval rating, a 38 percent disapproval rating, and a shrug of the shoulders from the other 9 percent.

Party affiliation yielded the anticipated results: 77 percent of Democrats approve of unions; 47 percent of self-identifying Independent voters approve; and 32 percent of Republicans approve of labor unions.

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Dan Cook

Dan Cook is a journalist and communications consultant based in Portland, OR. During his journalism career he has been a reporter and editor for a variety of media companies, including American Lawyer Media, BusinessWeek, Newhouse Newspapers, Knight-Ridder, Time Inc., and Reuters. He specializes in health care and insurance related coverage for BenefitsPRO.