Despite a massive outpouring of support and cash from unions, a new Reason-Rupe poll indicates that things may not be going so well for Tom Barrett, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's recall rival.
According to the new survey, Gov. Walker, the much-maligned “enemy of unions” and "assaulter of working families," leads his challenger by 50-42 among those likely to vote in the June 5 election. The same poll also shows former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney trailing President Barack Obama 46-36.
The survey asked 708 Wisconsin taxpayers a variety of questions pertaining to the recall election and the presidential election via cell phone and landlines.
What were some of the specific findings*?
- 49 percent of all adults surveyed approve of President Obama’s performance while 45 percent disapprove.
- While President Obama leads Romney by 46-36, 6 percent chose libertarian Gary Johnson (which reduces the gap between the president and Romney to 45-41).
- 72 percent favor new requirements on public sector workers to contribute more to their own pensions.
- 71 percent favor government employees paying 12 percent of their own health care premiums (as opposed to the previous 6 percent).
The poll shows many in Wisconsin favor Gov. Walker's reforms. In fact, the survey indicates some taxpayers don’t think Gov. Walker was wide-sweeping enough with his union reform legislation. Some voters think police and firefighters should have been included in the pension and healthcare adjustments.
“The public supports asking government workers to pick up more of the tab for their own retirement benefits, as 65 percent say public sector workers receive better pension and health care benefits than private sector workers,” Reason’s Emily Ekins writes.
“22 percent say benefit levels are about the same, and just 7 percent believe private sector retirement benefits are better than those in the public sector,” she adds.
You probably already guessed this but it should be noted: the survey shows a major ideological split between public and private sector employees.
“In contrast, only 27 percent of private sector employees have favorable opinions of public employee unions, while 37 percent view them unfavorably.”
But perhaps the most telling result of the poll is this:
Nearly half of Walker voters identify with the Tea Party movement, while over half of employed Barrett voters are public sector employees. About a quarter of those who plan to vote for Walker also have a favorable opinion of President Obama’s job performance.
"This demonstrates Wisconsin’s recall election extends beyond partisan lines," Ekins concludes.