Tags: Polls | poll | california | unions | harm

Field Poll: 45 Percent in Calif. Say Unions Do More Harm Than Good

Friday, 13 Dec 2013 08:21 PM

By Cathy Burke

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Forty-five percent of voters in labor-stronghold California say unions do more harm than good — a 10 percent surge of anti-union sentiment since March 2011, a Field Poll released Friday showed.

In a news release, the independent survey firm noted voters who believe unions do more good than harm has taken a hit, too, dipping from 46 percent years ago to 40 percent.

"…there has been a net 16-point swing in voter sentiment from the positive to negative side over this period," the Field Poll analysis noted.

Two public transit workers strikes in the San Francisco Bay Area, one in July and another in October, have done little to sweeten voters' attitudes, the survey found.

When asked their opinion of public employee labor unions, the survey found 44 percent believe they do more than harm than good, while 39 percent felt the opposite.

And the survey found voters also divided on whether public transit workers should be allowed to strike, with 47 percent saying their current right ought to be maintained. Forty-four percent said it should not.

"Voters in the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area ... are more likely than voters elsewhere to oppose public transit workers having the right to strike," pollster Mark DiCamillo told The Los Angeles Times.

With unions nationwide dealing with declining membership — and political clout — they are trying to create a strong voice within the Democratic Party to quell anti-union sentiment, the LA Times noted.

Yet in blue-state California, 30 percent of Democrats said unions do more harm than good, an increase of 9 percent points from March 2011, the Field Poll showed. Among Republicans, 70 percent said unions do more harm than good, up 13 percentage points from 2½ years ago.

The poll's margin of error is plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.

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