Ohio voters who sided with unions in a battle over collective bargaining rights last November have now turned against them over right-to-work legislation, a poll published Tuesday showed.
The Quinnipiac University survey showed a 14 percentage point margin in favor of a ban on forcing workers to join a union in the famously blue-collar state.
Ohioans polled showed 54 percent support passing right-to-work legislation while 40 percent were opposed. In November a state Senate bill, known as SB 5, which would have curbed union bargaining rights among public-sector workers was defeated, 61 percent to 39 percent.
“Given the assumption that the SB 5 referendum was a demonstration of union strength in Ohio, the 54–40 percent support for making Ohio a right-to-work state does make one take notice,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the university’s polling institute.
“In the referendum, Independent voters, who are generally the key to Ohio elections, voted with the pro-union folks to repeal the law many viewed as an effort to handicap unions,” added Brown.
“The data indicates that many of those same Independents who stood up for unions this past November are standing up to unions by backing right-to-work legislation.”
Quinnipiac’s figures showed that Independents support right-to-work legislation, 55-39 percent. Republicans are in favor, 77-20 percent, while Democrats oppose it, 61-31 percent.
Support rises with household income, the poll showed. Those earning less than $30,000 a year are in favor, 48-44 percent, while those earning six figures support it, 50-39 percent.
Quinnipiac asked a range of questions to 1,421 registered voters between last Tuesday and Sunday. Other findings included:
• Freshman GOP Sen. Rob Portman gets high marks from voters with 42 percent approving of the way he is doing his job, while 25 percent disapprove;
• Republican Gov. John Kasich gets his highest approval rating in five polls carried out since last October, however he still gets a 46-40 percent disapproval vote;
• The Republican-controlled legislature does not do so well. A total of 48 percent disapprove of the job it is doing, while 35 percent approve;
• A bill which would ban smoking in cars if a child under age 6 is a passenger is supported by 55 percent of voters; 41 percent say it is a bad idea;
• Plans to increase the speed limit to 70 mph on all interstate highways in Ohio gets overwhelming support, with 13 percent saying the limit should be even higher.
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