Large majority of Americans back public employee union rights: poll

By Sahil Kapur
Tuesday, March 1, 2011 10:00 EDT
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WASHINGTON – Americans want to maintain the collective bargaining rights of public employee unions by a nearly two-to-one margin, according to a new New York Times/CBS poll.

Sixty percent said they oppose attempts in states like Wisconsin to curtail those rights, while only 33 percent said they support those efforts. Seven percent had no opinion.

The results may reflect a growing backlash against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), who has for weeks been involved in a high-profile standoff with state Democrats and union supporters over his budget plan, which would curtail union bargaining rights.

Invoking the state’s budget deficit, Walker extracted major concessions from public worker unions on pensions and benefits, but they insist the state not take away their right to collectively bargain in the future.

The collective bargaining provision would have “no immediate effect” on the budget and “wouldn’t save any money this year,” the National Journal reported.

The public appears divided on whether attempts to reduce the benefits of government workers are aimed at cutting the deficit or simply busting unions.

In the Times/CBS poll, 45 percent said it’s usually about trimming deficits; 41 percent said it’s about weakening unions. Fourteen percent weren’t sure.

When asked about options to reduce the deficit, raising taxes decidedly won (40 percent) over decreasing benefits of public-sector workers (22 percent).

A plurality of the public, however, said that unions have “too much” influence in American life and politics (37 percent). Only 19 percent said they have “too little,” and 29 percent believed that unions have the “right amount” of influence.

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  • Guest

    They never polled me, but I support unions too. Go union!

  • Anonymous

    Here’s an argument against the methods of the poll a friend of mine linked to just a few minutes ago:

    and here was my rebuttal to him:
    “As long as the pollsters called off of a legitimately random call list, it would not be their fault for the discrepancies in national averages and the poll’s numbers. Of course there is a high chance they randomly chose to call people in an area where they were more likely to get the results they wanted, which is the problem with most polls, left, right, or on the back of cereal boxes. It could also be that more people are living in a household with a union member because some have lost their jobs and had to move in with a family member who happens to be in a union, though i doubt that could explain 8%.

    The discrepancies with last November’s election and what the poll finds is much easier to explain, and is really quite silly that it needs to be. Many “liberals” have been so disgusted with how far on the right Obama and the Democratic congress would start their negotiations with the Republicans that they simply gave up and didn’t go vote. This is why Gov. Walker’s idea of the “silent majority” backing him rings hollow. The silent majority of November has decided not to be so silent anymore. Maybe they will have learned their lesson and go vote next year.”

    really I just think polls are crap.

  • Anonymous

    This is a poll of people, not voters. Out of that 60%, I’m pretty sure much less than half actually vote.

    Most people are too discouraged by the lack of difference between dem and repub to vote. of course, as this whole thing shows, there can be considerable differences – even with the corrupt, dispicable sell-out, lying neo-libs. Obomber is probably the worst ever, and he made this problem incredibly worse (as the last election showed). Elites cannot take away the vote (yet), but they can build a system where most people are too discouraged to even get involved, must less even vote.. of course, there is wide-spread fraud in voting systems, but I don’t think it’s so widespread to overcome a large margin, but we’ll never know unless people vote.

    Repiglicans are the a-hole, vocal minority who thinks they are the majority, so yes, they vote often – the good, common people get too discouraged, and so they don’t vote. fact: most people don’t vote, so that j-ass 25-30% minority get their way all the time.

    ok, let’s hear it from the people on this board, tell me how there is no diff between dem and reich-wing again??

    btw: I support the green party, but I support instant run-off elections even more…if you don’t know what that is, shame on you…

  • ghostof911

    Time to unionize workers at Koch Industries.

    Time to unionize employees of Wal*Mart.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jacob-Trailertrash/100001877745318 Jacob Trailertrash

    A long time ago, in Boston, some people acted illegally but in the best interests of what they believed. That was the Boston Tea Party. Now here we are. The democratic senators have bugged out in order to protect what they feel is vital to democracy. On the surface one might say they are acting illegally. Who knows. I think not but many do. Or at least some think them cowardly. Rubbish.

    What the Wisconsin senators are doing right now would be understood completely by those people of old if they happened to step out history and find what was happening today. For the protection of the little guy.

    The Madison Tea Party. = “if big business can have huge lobbies in DC, why can’t the people have unions?”

    Hey you guys, why not do a ceremonial tea party each year to commemorate this event?

    Thank God for Madison, WI. and thank God for Anonymous. Go get those Kochs…..

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bob-Zentrails/100001475536421 Bob Zentrails

    The well-known and thoroughly studied cellphone bias clearly favors the GOP, so the real numbers are actually much, much worse for the GOP, which they are going to find out very clearly in 2012.

  • Anonymous

    Its funny. I’ve been anti-union most of my adult life. I remember the Hoffa era when the unions were extremely powerful and out of control. Now I find myself strongly pro-union. I see the unions as a counter-balance to the power of the corporation. Then, the unions needed some reining in. Now, the corporations need a major reduction in power and control over American’s lives. We’ve got to fight, not just for public employee unions, but private sector unions.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7TFC4AB4FMVYBR6EU5WCZ653IU Bob Hardin

    When the Wisconsin story first broke, there were 45,000 comments posted in an hour and a half. They ran about 5-1 against the unions. This was too fast to be organized right wing spamming. So how does that square with the Times/CBS poll? Is Yahoo attracting reactionaries these days?

  • http://www.tommyjonestheband.com RantingTommy

    yahoo has always attracted yahoos

  • Anonymous

    Koch hit list:
    1. Unions
    2. Health Care Reform
    3. Social Security
    4. Medicare
    5. Public education
    6. Middle-class

    Oh, no need for #6, 1-5 already takes care of that.

  • Anonymous

    X 1 Trillion for me as well, TWW. Am never polled…always on the side of the suffering, economically enslaved American worker.
    On Wisconsin…Bravo, You-We Will Win….

    Polls are biased … who pays the piper -pollster calls the results…the elections…the faux crowd etc. etc.

  • Anonymous

    You don’t have to be told that there are a lot of dirty Americans, anti-union, racist, war lovers. We just hope they are not the majority.

  • Anonymous

    If history tells us anything it is that ideas and issues that were once contentious remain so. If this note by James Madison from the Debate on Representation of May 31, 1787, is to be believed, we’ve been here before, and the citizenry has never been too comfortable with their tax dollars going to pay their public servants.

    Is the Mr. Gerry quoted by Madison here, prescient in his estimation of “the people” or has the problem of disinformation as it relates to the political process generally and particularly in this instance regarding pay for public employees really been a bone of contention from before the Constitution? Apparently “the people” have felt, periodically at least, that their public servants are paid too much. And their willingness to act on that feeling was one reason for Mr. Gerry’s anti-democratic position in these notes from the preliminary debates on the constitution. Of course Gerry wasn’t alone on this, in all the discussions leading up to the Constitution, one of the main problems addressed was the problem of “too much democracy.”

    “Mr. Gerry: The evils we experience flow from the excess of Democracy. The people do not want virtue but are the dupes of pretended patriots. In Massachusetts it has been fully established by experience that they are daily mislead into the most baneful measures and opinions by the false reports circulated by designing men, and which no one on the spot can refute. One principle evil arises from the want of the provision of those employed in the administration of Government. It would seem to be a maxim of democracy to starve the public servants. He mentioned the public clamor in Massachusetts for the reduction of salaries and the attack made on that of the Governor though secured by the spirit of the Constitution itself. He had he said been too republican heretofore he was still republican, but had been taught by experience the danger of the levolling spirit.” (capital letters and archaic spellings in original)

  • Anonymous

    The Faux “News” effect, in terms of conditioned reflexes?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7TFC4AB4FMVYBR6EU5WCZ653IU Bob Hardin

    True, but not especially right-wing ‘yahoos.’ One thing that occurs to me is that three or four determined Tea Baggers could pull this off with a VPN and multiple Yahoo accounts. To skew the results, they would only have to post about one post per minute each. HPGary could easily manage that.


  • Anonymous

    Being a ‘postie’ for money is a growing work at home scheme.

  • Anonymous

    If by public servant you are talking about the teatards who were elected to cause all this disruption, yes. The teatards are pawns of the billionaires and are receiving some sort of compensation on that side while ripping off the public employees at the same time. The rich have always wanted it all and if they could have serdom and slavery today, they would take it.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve said it before and I will say it again, if we don’t stop globalization, free trade, off shoring, outsourcing, open borders and restore tariffs all this complaining will be for nothing. Its because of what I listed that we are in the position we are in today, we have to get real money again too, the reason there is always complaining about wages is because the money is losing value..we have to get rid of the fiat currency model.

  • Anonymous

    Ohio is a special case, the man behind the Ohio’s investment in Lehman Brothers’ mortgage backed securities was John Kasich, the current governor of Ohio, is the same John Kasich who worked for Lehman Brothers and convinced the legislature in Ohio to invest in the mortgage-backed securities that drove their pension fund directly into the ground. And of course, the voters of Ohio elected him, who else could solve the problem that they created than the man who created it. And how will Kasich do this, by blaming the problem he directly created on the government workers and other middle class workers in Ohio and screwing the workers of Ohio yet again.

    This is Republican politics as we have come to know and appreciate it!

  • AnzaSummer

    6. Pensions
    7. Minimum wage
    8. Workers’ Compensation
    9. Work place safety
    10. All regulations regarding land, air and water and corporations
    11. All taxes on corporations and rich individuals
    12. Public works projects
    13. 8 hour days/40 hour weeks
    14. Vacation leave/pay
    16. Sick leave/pay

  • AnzaSummer

    And we call those people Republicans.

  • AnzaSummer

    Absolutely. They are also being paid to call liberal/progressive talk shows.

  • Anonymous

    It’s not really a “bias”, it’s more of a “factor”. And yes, a very real factor. I was arguing with a friend about this in the 2008 Pres election. He kept saying the polls were lying and Obama was really behind. I told him most young people have only cell phones and are not polled, and that the reality was the Obama would win in a blowout. Didn’t make me “smart”, but did show how gullible some people are.

    But do we really want cell phone numbers given to pollsters? One of the reasons I have a cell phone is to avoid telemarketing and pollsters. If there is in fact a study that shows intentional “bias”, I’d be curious to see it. I think it is just a “factor” that does not get as much attention as it should.

  • Anonymous

    Southern states less corrupt? You must be joking. Corruption has always been rampant in the south. They never did elect any of the reformers that changed the way government does business, particularly in the midwest.

  • Anonymous

    Yes we do. UNION !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://harry-canary.myopenid.com/ Harry Canary

    The teabaggers are just a bunch of windbags and loudmouths in love with the sound of their own voices.

  • http://harry-canary.myopenid.com/ Harry Canary

    The union people are not corrupt. We already know what it is with you pieces of salesboy trash. You are just greedy sleazebags.

  • http://harry-canary.myopenid.com/ Harry Canary

    There will be nobody to go after the big corporations if you kill the unions. The real problem though is too many salesboys inflating the price of everything without adding value. There is more cost of goods in salestrash commissions, markup, advertising and packaging than in the labor to produce products. The cost of everything continues to rise artificially even when it is produced by non union labor. Get the salesboys under control then we may have a chance.

  • http://harry-canary.myopenid.com/ Harry Canary

    You salestrash have scabbed and scammed far more than any union worker. You need to be put to work in a real job.

  • http://harry-canary.myopenid.com/ Harry Canary

    And as long as we get rid of you kochsuckers human beings can survive.

  • http://harry-canary.myopenid.com/ Harry Canary

    Actually yer hero reagan gave them away.

  • http://harry-canary.myopenid.com/ Harry Canary

    I have had to try to straighten out manufacturing plants which were set up in the south. It is a disaster. Every company that has moved south regretted it and usually moved overseas before long. They move south for low wages and get what they pay for. If they actually show up for work, they screw up every thing they touch and produce so little the company cannot remotely stay profitable. One friend who set up a manufacturing plant in South Carolina had to keep 30 percent extra people on the payroll to make up for the no shows, let alone the laziness. He had to close after about 5 years because it couldn’t be made to work.

  • http://harry-canary.myopenid.com/ Harry Canary

    Florida is one of the most corrupt states in the country, between the actual mob (sam giancana’s heirs) and the land developers let alone the bush family influence it is hard to imagine a more corrupt state. Anywhere in the south ignorance and corruption reign. It has been that way since before the civil war. A few rich families keeping everyone else down. I have had to straighten out messes caused by sending manufacturing plants south. Everything below the mason dixon line is a disaster.

    You took the high wages you enjoyed by working in a union state and retired to an area where you pay less. Typical exploitative trash. By the way how much government money are you taking for your welfare check?

  • Guest

    The love of money is the root of all evil, taxed…the love of money translates into greed. Greed is when only a few have most and the rest go with too little. Right now, greed is evident in the huge wealth gap between rich and poor. The rich are being greedy, while most of the rest of us are suffering. I don’t know why anyone would want to defend the rich against paying their fair share. That is immoral.

  • http://harry-canary.myopenid.com/ Harry Canary

    My friend did not want to have to pay three people to do the job of one which is what you get all over the South. I have had to go in and try to straighten up the messes in more than one of these southern plants. You get it straightened out then leave and they are right back to their old stupidity. The car companies that locate there do it because they are cheap wages and suffer with the pathetic workforce. But then again you are a sleazy salesboy. You would know nothing about productivity or real work. The downfall of this country occurred when salestrash like you started being handed way, way to much money and influence.

  • http://harry-canary.myopenid.com/ Harry Canary

    You are a piece of sales trash. Everything you do is stealing or lying. Pimping up the price of land is worse than stealing. You need to be put to work for a living. And the south is corrupt as everything. Everybody trying to b.s. their way through and do as little real work as possible. Just like you.