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48% Back GOP Governor in Wisconsin Spat, 38% Side With Unions

Monday, February 21, 2011

A sizable number of voters are following new Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s showdown with unionized public employees in his state, and nearly half side with the governor.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 48% of Likely U.S. Voters agree more with the Republican governor in his dispute with union workers. Thirty-eight percent (38%) agree more with the unionized public employees, while 14% are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

In an effort to close the state’s sizable budget deficit, Walker is proposing to eliminate collective bargaining for public employees including teachers on everything but wage issues. He is excluding public safety workers such as policemen and firemen from his plan.

Thirty-eight percent (38%) of voters think teachers, firemen and policemen should be allowed to go on strike, but 49% disagree and believe they should not have that right. Thirteen percent (13%) are not sure.

There’s strong partisan disagreement on both questions and a wide gap between the Political Class and Mainstream voters.

Thirty-six percent (36%) of all voters say that in their state the average public employee earns more than the average private sector worker. Twenty-one percent (21%) say the government employee earns less, while 20% think their pay is about the same. Twenty-three percent (23%) are not sure.

With states across the country finding that benefits for public workers are becoming difficult to fund in the current economic climate, support for public employee unions has fallen.  Forty-five percent (45%) of Americans favor them, and 45% don’t. These findings include 21% who Strongly Favor such unions and 30% who are Strongly Opposed to them.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on February 18-19, 2011 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.?

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