Poll: Wisconsin Residents Evenly Divided On Budget Standoff

The first poll of Wisconsin residents on the budget showdown between Governor Scott Walker and Democrats and their union supporters shows Badger State residents pretty much evenly divided:

Wisconsinites are split 50-50 on their support of Gov. Scott Walker’s budget repair bill and the union workers protesting the legislation, according to a new poll sponsored by WisconsinReporter.com.

The poll of 500 likely voters, which was conducted on Monday, Feb.21, showed 50 percent had a “very favorable” or “somewhat favorable” opinion of Walker’s bill, while the same percentage had a “somewhat favorable” or “very unfavorable” opinion.

Similarly, 49 percent of those polled had a “very favorable” or “somewhat favorable” opinion of the protesters, with 48 percent “somewhat unfavorable” or “very unfavorable,” and 3 percent undecided.

The results come as the controversy over the $137 million budget repair bill nears the two-week mark Friday. The legislation would require most public employee union members to increase their contributions to pensions and health care plans to 5.8 percent and 12.6 percent, respectively.

The most controversial aspect of the bill, however, calls for the end of most collective-bargaining rights for the state’s public employee unions, who only would be allowed to bargain over salary.

According to the poll, 56 percent say Wisconsin state employees and public employee unions should have collective bargaining powers. Thirty-two percent disagree, and 12 percent of those polled are unsure.

There’s enough in this poll for both sides to claim their winning the public relations war, which likely means the standoff will continue.

FILED UNDER: Deficit and Debt, Quick Takes, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. michael reynolds says:

    I’m not seeing the comfort for the Republicans. It’s 50/50 except on the one genuine remaining issue: union-busting. And there the sentiment is strongly pro-union.

    This suggests that an ad campaign by the unions focusing on that issue alone could swing this sharply against Walker.

  2. An Interested Party says:

    This suggests that an ad campaign by the unions focusing on that issue alone could swing this sharply against Walker.

    They can have recall elections in Wisconsin, no?

  3. mantis says:

    According to the poll, 56 percent say Wisconsin state employees and public employee unions should have collective bargaining powers. Thirty-two percent disagree, and 12 percent of those polled are unsure.

    This is the only item under dispute. The unions have agreed to the compensation cuts. Walker wants the unions destroyed. He doesn’t care about the budget at all, only smashing unions.

  4. PD Shaw says:

    Except the bill doesn’t eliminate collective bargaining, it reduces it’s scope to base wages.

  5. Steven Plunk says:

    Wait! I was told yesterday by our resident liberals that the majority was against Walker’s proposals.

    PD, You’re exactly right. Since it’s the benefits that are creating long term issues for budgets that’s why they have to be removed from the collective bargaining process.

  6. An Interested Party says:

    Wait! I was told yesterday by our resident liberals that the majority was against Walker’s proposals.

    And what you were told was correct…in case you missed it…

    According to the poll, 56 percent say Wisconsin state employees and public employee unions should have collective bargaining powers. Thirty-two percent disagree, and 12 percent of those polled are unsure.

    Reducing the scope of those collective bargaining powers just to wages may not technically be eliminating them, but it is still significantly reducing them…by the way, if the “greedy” teacher’s unions are responsible for all these budget crises across the country, how do you account for those states that outlaw collective bargaining that also have budget problems?

  7. Ej says:

    “how do you account for those states that outlaw collective bargaining that also have budget problems?”

    Those states due tend to have smaller budget problems.

  8. anjin-san says:

    > Those states due tend to have smaller budget problems.

    Visit Texas. Perry is groveling for stimulus money behind the scenes while he talks about succession to keep the wingnuts happy.

  9. Pug says:

    Those states due tend to have smaller budget problems.

    Can you support that with any facts? I didn’t think so.

    Texas . . . you know, conservative paradise, has a $27 billion budget shortfall over the next two years. Massive cuts are coming for Texas’ 47th ranked education system. Texas also has a law against collective bargaining for teachers.

    The benefits negotiated by public sector unions are a problem for the states and many of them will have to be re-negotiated. Nobody disputes that, including the unions.

    Your claim, however, is simply not true. There is a lot more to the current state budget problems than public sector unons. Like the massive recession, maybe?

  10. Muffler says:

    EJ:

    In the first place states that have outlawed collective bargaining for teachers unions rank in the bottom of education statistics. You are incorrect related to the budget shortfalls and states without collective bargaining. In fact there is little correlation.

  11. Internetgal1 says:

    Governor Walker is telling it like it is & people in Wisc. should be happy to have an honest Governor, which is something that we do not have here in Calif. The people of Wisc. should do the right thing for their entire state & support this unique man.

  12. Rich Berger says:

    I looked at this poll it indicates that among respondents, 23% had a public union employee in their household. Assume that all union employees are voting age and half the residents are voting age. As far as I can tell, just over 1% of Wisconsin residents were public union employees (or 2% of voting age residents) and if the average household had 2 voting age people and the union employees were distributed one to a family, two times as many people would report a union member. That would make the proportion of union employees 4%. I would say that the union members were grossly overcounted.