By Catalina Camia, USA TODAY 4/1/2011
More Americans back public employee labor unions than governors in states that are trying to rein in costs by curbing collective bargaining rights, a new poll shows.
Nearly half, or 48%, of Americans say they agree with public-sector unions in these disputes, compared with 39% who agree with governors, the Gallup Poll says.
Thirteen percent say they favor neither side or don’t have an opinion.
Thursday, Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed into law a controversial measure that bans strikes and curbs the collective bargaining rights of unions for teachers, law enforcement and other public employees. The measure affects about 360,000 employees.
In Wisconsin, a judge forced Gov. Scott Walker to halt plans to implement such a law. The protests of thousands of union supporters and the boycott of Democratic lawmakers over the measure captured national attention and signaled the beginning of similar fights in states such as Indiana.
Kasich and Walker are both Republicans.
The Gallup survey of 1,027 adults found broad support within key groups for the public sector unions. Not surprisingly, seven in 10 Democrats say they support the unions, followed by 61% of 18- to 34-year-olds.
Governors in these disputes received their largest support from Republicans (65%) and men (45%).
The poll was taken March 25-27 and has a margin of error of +/- 4 percentage points.