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Most Oppose Taxpayer Bailout of Ailing Union Pension Funds

Friday, September 13, 2019

A number of trade union pension funds are now well short of the money they need to pay promised benefits. But most voters oppose legislation now working its way through Congress to siphon billions of dollars in loans and direct cash to these ailing funds.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 53% of Likely U.S. Voters oppose a taxpayer bailout of underfunded union pension funds. Just 26% support a pension bailout. A sizable 21% are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

While Democrats are the overwhelming supporters of the union bailout legislation which has already passed the House of Representatives, only 36% of Democratic voters favor it. But that compares to just 17% of Republicans and 22% of voters not affiliated with either major party.

Fifty-five percent (55%) of all voters have a favorable opinion of labors unions, a finding that has ranged from 44% to 58% in surveys since 2006. Thirty-five percent (35%) view unions unfavorably. This includes 21% with a Very Favorable opinion and 13% with a Very Unfavorable one.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on September 11-12, 2019 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

New Jersey legislators considered extending unemployment benefits to striking union workers three years ago, but most voters opposed a similar law in their state at that time.

Republicans (39%) are far less likely than Democrats (66%) and unaffiliated voters (62%) to share a favorable opinion of labor unions.

The majority of voters in most demographic categories regard unions favorably.

Fifty-six percent (56%) of voters with a Very Favorable opinion of unions support a taxpayer bailout of underfunded union pension funds. Among voters with a Very Unfavorable view of unions, 80% oppose such a bailout.

Although President Trump’s 2016 election was due in part to unexpected blue collar Democratic support, 76% of voters who Strongly Approve of the job Trump is doing oppose a pension fund bailout for unions.

Most Americans opposed the government bailout of the banking industry and were lukewarm about the bailout of General Motors and Chrysler.

High-profile public employee strikes around the country have not cooled Americans’ support for unions. But voters tend to think labor unions have too much political influence and don’t think non-union members should have to pay union dues.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

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