With several new polls out about the fight in Wisconsin, the verdict is clear that recent Republican efforts to take away labor unions’ collective bargaining rights is very bad short-term politics for them.
Polling confirms that an overwhelming majority of Americans opposes taking away public employees unions’ collective bargaining rights:
On net, the American people have a favorable view of labor unions:
CBS News/NYT poll: 33% favorable view, 25% unfavorable view.
And the American people strongly side with the labor unions in Wisconsin against Republican Gov. Scott Walker with Pew finding 42 percent on the side of the unions, and only 31% siding with Walker.
Most importantly, PPP’s polling of voters in Wisconsin itself shows Walker’s attempt to take away collective bargaining rights has resulted in a significant negative effect on his support and electability.
The long term for the Republican Party might be worth the short-term hit.
In the short term, because the American people side with labor unions in a very public fight over collective bargaining rights, individual Republicans will take a serious political hit. In the long term, though, this short term hit still might be worth it collectively for the party, and this is probably why the top donor class of Republicans will push strongly for it.
Unions and union members tend to support Democrats. And in this post-Citizens United world, they are one of the few sources of large campaign funding for progressive candidates who face the hundreds of millions of nearly unlimited corporate money that now flowed to Republicans (as we witnessed in the 2010 election).
With young voters overwhelmingly supporting unions and labor finally winning popular support in a very public showdown, there is a slim possibility unions could eventually see a revival with this younger generation, which probably makes Republicans’ current push to cripple them now even more important for the long term.