Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Scott Walker losing support across state, most back workers/unions

More than two-thirds of Wisconsin citizens agree with the positions that public service employees are taking in regards to the labor protests taking place at the Capitol.

A new poll released by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research indicates that the protest movement in downtown Madison (and elsewhere in the state) is vastly supported by the people of Wisconsin. At the same time, Scott Walker’s standing with the average voter has diminished greatly, with a majority of the state disapproving of his job performance as governor.

67 percent of Wisconsin citizens support the goals of public service employees while only 43 percent support Walker’s goals. More than half of respondents (53 percent) disagreed with Walker in general on the matter.

As far as specific policy goes, 52 percent agreed with the need to preserve collective bargaining rights, while only 42 percent favored Gov. Walker’s plans to strip public service employees of their rights.

What’s more, Wisconsinites across all political spectrums (including more than half of self-proclaimed Republicans) felt that if public service employees agreed to financial concessions in Walker’s bill that the governor should agree to keep bargaining rights intact. This past weekend, state workers agreed to such a proposal; but Walker said no, implying that this bill is more about political scores to settle rather than just the budget.

Walker’s stubbornness has landed him a sour standing with the people of Wisconsin -- a majority (51 percent) disapprove of the governor’s job performance and a near-majority (49 percent) view him unfavorably (compared to only 39 percent that give him positive reviews).

Conversely, perhaps due to the events of the past ten days, public service employees and unions in general received positive remarks, seen as favorable by 62 percent and 53 percent of the people, respectively.

This poll comes in the wake of another poll performed at the national level by Rasmussen Reports that attempts to show nationwide more support for Walker than with workers. However, closer examination of this poll suggests that it was heavily skewed to favor Walker through the questions asked. Two of the set-up questions were worded in a way to give the respondent the impression that the workers were protesting solely for financial reasons, not in defense of their rights.

Still, as Daily Kos points out, even with the improper wording of the poll (as well as Rasmussen traditionally favoring Republican politicians in general), Walker couldn’t even garner half of the country’s support to back his position. Additionally, a USA Today poll points towards national opposition rather than support for Walker's bill.

There’s no doubt that Walker and his Republican allies will ignore these statewide polling results, opting to side with their corporatist financial backers rather than the people of Wisconsin. But it’s interesting to see just how overwhelming the support for public service employees is in our state -- it legitimizes the labor movement and gives it hope for the future.

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