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New GQR Polls: Wisconsin Voters Diss Walker's Mess

Evan McMorris-Santoro's report at TPM on new polls of Wisconsin voters, conducted by GQR Research for the AFL-CIO 2/16-20 should give the demonstrators some encouragement in their struggle against Gov. Walker's union-busting. McMorris-Santorro explains,

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.

As the GQR pollsters explain in their analysis, "Since the protests began, Governor Walker has seen real erosion in his standing, with a majority expressing disapproval of his job performance and disagreement with his agenda." And when read the following description of the conflict in Madison, 52% of respondents said they don't favor Walker's scheme, with just 42% favoring it:

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.

...Which underscores the importance of unions telling their side of the story. The survey also found that 53 percent of voters rate unions favorably, with only 31 percent rating them unfavorably. Of those polled, 67 percent said they sided with the public employees, 62 percent with the protesters, 59 percent with the unions and 56 percent with Democrats in the state legislature. A majority, 53 percent, disagree with Governor Walker and 46 percent disagree with Republicans in the state legislature.

When asked, 58 percent of respondents oppose eliminating collective bargaining, 57 percent oppose cutting wages for public employees and half are against cutting pension benefits for public employees. Independents (59 percent) don't like it much, either, nor do a third of Republicans, along with 78 percent of Democrats. Three out of four respondents said they opposed taking away public employees' collective bargaining rights, including nearly half of Republicans.

It appears Governor Walker may have succeeded in currying favor with the Koch brothers. But Wisconsin voters are unimpressed with his polarizing attack against state workers.