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Wisconsin Voters Oppose Weakening Collective Bargaining Rights in General But Strongly Support Specific Changes

As the dispute over Governor Scott Walker’s budget cutting proposals continues, Wisconsin voters remain strongly opposed to “weakening collective bargaining rights” but are very supportive of substantial changes in the collective bargaining process.

Consistent with a survey conducted  last week, a new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in Wisconsin finds that just 39% favor a proposal to weaken the collective bargaining rights of state employees. Fifty-seven percent (57%) are opposed. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

As part of the collective bargaining process, however, just 19% believe that unions should be allowed to require a local school district to buy health insurance coverage from a union-created insurance company. Three times as many (57%) are opposed.

The Wisconsin Education Association, the state teachers union, has created a not-for-profit insurance company called the WEA Trust. The stated purpose of the WEA Trust is to provide insurance and retirement and investment services to Wisconsin public school employees and their families. Forty-six percent (46%) of Wisconsin voters believe it is good for the state that the union formed a non-profit insurance company like the WEA Trust. Just 30% believe it is bad.

But some people claim the WEA Trust transfers money to the union that created it through marketing contracts and other business relationships. The WEA Trust says it does not transfer money to the union for political purposes. If a union is negotiating with a school district over who should provide health insurance coverage for its members, 76% of the state's voters believe the union should be required to disclose all financial relationships between the union and the WEA Trust. Only 12% disagree, and 12% are not sure.

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

The survey of 500 Likely Voters in Wisconsin was conducted on March 7, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4.5 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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