Pro-union protesters inside the Wisconsin State Capitol on Monday.
Pro-union protesters inside the Wisconsin State Capitol on Monday. Jeffrey Phelps/AP
As governors and legislators in several states say they are doing the people's will by seeking to limit collective bargaining rights of public workers' unions, a new USA Today/Gallup poll raises the question: which people are they talking about?
Because, by a wide margin, the people polled by the news and polling organizations said they supported collective bargaining rights for unions that represent public workers.
USA Today reported:
Americans strongly oppose laws taking away the collective bargaining power of public employee unions, according to a new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll. The poll found 61% would oppose a law in their state similar to such a proposal in Wisconsin, compared with 33% who would favor such a law...
The survey found that opposition to or support for restricting collective bargaining rights, the cause of the legislative deadlock in Wisconsin was, like so much else, determined by partisan identification.
Among Democrats, 78 percent opposed efforts to limit collective bargaining rights. That percentage dropped to 62 percent among independents and 41 percent among Republicans.
Republicans were the only segment where a majority, 54 percent, agreed with the efforts of fellow Republican, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, to reduce those rights.
Still, 41 percent of Republicans opposing Walker's efforts seems like a fairly significant slice of that party.
For comparison, President Obama's approval rating with Republicans for the year ending in January 2011 averaged 13 percent.
This would seem to argue that Walker and other Republican governors and lawmakers shouldn't count on a unified party behind them and that there are high risks to their strategy.