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What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls - Week Ending February 25, 2011

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Wisconsin and Libya. Angry protesters are in the streets. Here at home they’re exercising their democratic rights in a budget battle; over there, they’re being shot down for seeking democratic rights in real battles.

A sizable number of voters are following new Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s showdown with unionized public employees in an effort to close the state’s growing budget deficit, and nearly half (47%) now side with the governor. Sixty-seven percent (67%) oppose the tactic by Democratic state senators to flee Wisconsin to prevent a vote that would limit the rights of some public employee unions, but  support for the unions is now at 42%, up from 38% earlier in the week. 

The teachers’ unions are among those Walker and other budget-conscious governors have targeted. Americans continue to believe strongly that being a teacher is an essential job, but a plurality (46%) thinks it’s a bad thing that most teachers are unionized. Thirty-seven percent (37%) disagree and say, in terms of its impact on the nation, it’s a good thing that these teachers belong to public employee unions.

Most Americans also have their eye on the growing political unrest in a number of Arab nations including Libya. Just 29% think a change of government in any of these countries will be good for the United States, but 67% still say America should stay out of the situation over there. 

Fifty-eight percent (58%) of Adults already think the unrest in the Arab world may lead to a major new war involving the United States, with 26% who say it is Very Likely. Thirty-one percent (31%) see that outcome as unlikely, but that includes just four percent (4%) who say it is Not At All Likely.

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