This post has been updated.
Union supporters in Wisconsin are pointing to a new poll they say shows support for Gov. Scott Walker (R) is straining under the weight of the thousands of protesters gathered in and around the state capitol in Madison.
The poll of Wisconsin voters, conducted by Democratic pollster GQR Research for the AFL-CIO between Feb. 16 and 20, shows public feelings toward the union supporters versus the Republican governor are vastly different.
Sixty-two percent of respondents to the poll said they view public employees favorably, while just 11% said they had an unfavorable view of the workers whose benefits packages Walker says are breaking the state budget.
Meanwhile, just 39% of respondents had a favorable view of Walker, while 49% had an unfavorable view of the freshman Republican governor. Voters are split on his job performance, with 51% saying they disapprove of the job Walker has done.
“Since the protests began, Governor Walker has seen real erosion in his standing,” the GQR pollsters write in their analysis, “with a majority expressing disapproval of his job performance and disagreement with his agenda.”
Other questions from the poll show that when given a detailed description on the current dispute between labor and the Republicans in Madison, Wisconsin voters tend to side with the unions. Here’s what the detailed question in the AFL-CIO-sponsored survey sounded like:
As you may know, Governor Scott Walker recently announced a plan to limit most public employees’ ability to negotiate their wages and benefits. The plan cuts pension and health care benefits for current public workers, and restricts new wage increases unless approved by a voter referendum. Contracts would be limited to one year, with wages frozen until a new contract is settled. In addition, Walker’s plan also changes rules to require collective bargaining units to take annual votes to maintain certification as a union, stops employers from collecting union dues, and allows members of collective bargaining units to avoid paying dues. Law enforcement, fire employees and state troopers and inspectors would be exempt from the changes.
When given that read on the situation, 52% of respondents said they don’t favor Walker’s scheme. Just 42% said they favor it.
Read the entire AFL-CIO polling memo here.
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