A new Wisconsin Policy Research Institute poll released today revealed that by trying to break the public sector union in the state, Gov. Scott Walker is not only destroying his own popularity, but is making President Obama more popular, and could be handing Wisconsin to the Democrats in 2012.
The WPRI poll found that Wisconsin residents believe that the country is headed in the wrong direction by a 67%-24% margin. However the Republican leadership of Scott Walker has done nothing to convince them that the state is heading in the right direction, as 62% of those surveyed also felt that Wisconsin was on the wrong track. A deeper look into the numbers uncovers that Scott Walker’s attack on collective bargaining is hurting his approval more than anxiety over the economy.
Wisconsinites may share a negative perception about the direction of both their state and the country as a whole, but President Obama and Scott Walker’s approval ratings are heading in opposite directions. Wisconsin residents’ approval of the job Obama is doing as president by a 53%-42% margin. The numbers are reversed for Gov. Walker as 53% disapprove and only 43% approve of his job performance. Shockingly among those who disapprove, 45% strongly disapprove of Walker. In contrast only 26% strongly disapprove of Obama.
Scott Walker’s approval collapse can be traced back to one issue, collective bargaining. Wisconsin residents narrowly oppose (51%-47%) Walker’s entire budget plan, and they overwhelmingly support requiring public employees to contribute to their own pensions, (81%-18%), but they are opposed to stripping public employees of their collective bargaining rights (58%-33%).They are also opposed to proposed cuts in the state’s public assistance and Medicaid programs (62%-32%).
Walker’s favoritism towards the police and firefighters unions that endorsed his campaign has also not gone over well, as 52% believe that police and firefighters should not be exempted from changes in collective bargaining. 60% of respondents were also opposed to the proposal to limit collective bargaining for the next two years, and 65% believe that Scott Walker should compromise on the collective bargaining issue.
This poll is the strongest evidence yet that Walker is not only damaging his own political future, but he might be setting up the Republican Party for an electoral disaster in 2012. Walker’s union busting jihad is in essence handing Wisconsin to President Obama on a silver platter. If Walker continues to alienate the state’s voters it won’t matter who the Republican presidential candidate is, Obama will again carry Wisconsin.
The political impact of Scott Walker’s anti-union jihad is being felt nationally as the collective bargaining cause has reunified and reenergized Democrats in a way that hasn’t been seen since 2008. Republicans could have never envisioned their strategy to destroy the heart of Democratic fund raising and grassroots efforts in a budget crisis disguise backfiring so dramatically.
Scott Walker has awakened the progressive movement, and in 2012 Republicans all across the country are going to pay for his mistake.
Image: Iron Mill News Service