Although politicians from the D.C. area know and love the IFVs (Invisible Federal Voters), most others have spent the last few years blasting the pay and perks of bureaucrats, or supporting them (very quietly).
It appears that few politicians have this important, potentially swing-voter bloc on their radar screens. But talk to the IFVs themselves and you find a very energized, educated and enthusiastic/angry group of people. And all of them are old enough to vote.
Members of this group are found in every state and county. Pool members all have good, steady jobs that, so far, have been largely untouched by the recession. Although pay has been frozen, nobody has taken a pay cut. There have been no furloughs or layoffs.
The voter pool takes in about 2.3 million full-time employees and another few hundred thousand part-timers or temps. For most of us, at least one of them drops by our house or apartment six days a week. There are also about 2.5 million federal and postal retirees or survivors. In some states, like Florida, retired feds outnumber those on active duty. In other states, like Alabama, the number of workers and retirees — 43,000 in each category — is almost exactly the same.
Men make up 56 percent of the pool, women 43 percent. Slightly more than one of every three are minorities (17.9 percent African-American; 7.2 percent Hispanic; 5.3 percent Asian and 2 percent Native American.) All members of the pool are old enough to vote and 76 percent have some post-secondary education, compared to 54 percent of American workers. It is a “mature” pool. About 74 percent are 40 or older. The average age is around 47.
The largest numbers of IFVs live and work in California, Virginia, Texas, Maryland, Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania and New York. Political “experts” believe President Obama will carry New York, Maryland and probably California. Texas is in the GOP camp, the pros believe, but Virginia and Florida — along with Ohio, North Carolina, Colorado, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa and Nevada — are up for grabs. In a close race, which many believe it will be, the IFVs could swing it. As a percentage of the voting-age population, active and retired feds loom large in Ohio, Colorado, Nevada, Virginia, Florida and North Carolina.
Federal and postal unions have traditionally supported Democratic candidates for the White House and (with a few exceptions) Congress. But a look at the “comments” section of this column, or talks with individual feds, indicate they are all over the place politically.
So what is the impact, if any, of the IFV, in your district and state? To view the numbers — of feds, postals, retirees and survivors — state-by-state, check out this chart, which ran in the September issue of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees magazine. And maybe pass the numbers on to politicians courting your vote.
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