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Posted at 12:40 PM ET, 03/23/2011

Ohioans oppose rollback of public employee bargaining rights, too

As you may know, there is a proposed law in Ohio that would limit collective bargaining rights for public employees. Do you support or oppose limiting collective bargaining rights for public employees?

Support 35

Oppose 54

That’s from a new Quinnipiac poll of Ohio voters. It looks like Governor Scott Walker’s initiative isn’t the only proposed rollback of bargaining rights that’s tanking in the polls — and dragging a GOP governor down with it.

This poll has a very interesting finding that undermines a key right-wing talking point: That such polling finds opposition to rolling back collective bargaining only because it uses the word “rights.” Quinnipiac split its sample, and asked the other half the same question, only without the word “rights.” The result? Ohioans still oppose the bill when it’s described as “limiting collective bargaining for public employees,” albeit by a slightly lesser amount: 48-41.

As Quinnipiac’s polling director puts it: “The word ‘right’ appears to have an effect on the voters’ response. But no matter how the question is asked, voters oppose limits on collective bargaining.” And in both cases, independents also oppose the measure.

Meanwhile, the poll also finds that only 30 percent approve of GOP Governor John Kasich’s performance, though it appears that the budget fight overall may be to blame.

Here’s why this is important: Democrats and labor strategists are hoping that the fight over collective bargaining in Ohio will have a major impact on the 2012 race, by galvanizing labor support and reawakening the affection of blue collar whites for unions in a crucial swing state. If the proposal to roll back bargaining rights is tanking in Ohio — as Quinnipiac suggests it is — it could give Dems a boost there in 2012.

You have to wonder whether Scott Walker is partly responsible for this. This is admittedly speculation, but could the weeks of negative national scrutiny of Walker’s overreaching proposal have awakened voters in other states to the realization that they don’t think public employee unions should cease to exist or lose their fundamental right to organize? Yes, Walker may get his way in the end, but could his extremism have hepled prime voters to come down against Republicans — and for public employee unions — in similar disputes elsewhere, even over less extreme proposals?

If so, Dems eyeing 2012 may end up owing Scott Walker a major Thank You.

By  |  12:40 PM ET, 03/23/2011

 
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