In last fall’s gubernatorial election in the Badger State, Republican Scott Walker bested Democrat Tom Barrett by nearly 6 points, winning with 52.25% of the vote to Barrett’s 46.48% of the vote. In a sample of 500 likely Wisconsin voters where only 46% said they voted for Walker, 71% thought the Republican’s “budget changes that include unions to pay 5.8% of their salary toward the cost of their pensions plans and double their contributions for health care premiums to 12.6% are fair“.
Although they consider the plan fair, Wisconsinites are split on the governor’s overall budget repair bill, with 50% having a somewhat or very favorable opinion of the package and 49% having a somewhat or very favorable view of the union protesters. Interestingly 69% of Wisconsinites think government workers in their community “have better benefits than private sector workers” while 48% think they are better compensated that private employees, with 29% disagreeing and 23% not sure.
Now, to be sure, 56% favor collective bargaining for public employees. That said, in all, these numbers suggest that the public employee compensation issue could hurt Democrats in upcoming elections should they appear too cozy with their unions, especially when private sector workers have had to take pay cuts to keep their jobs.
It would be interesting to see what these numbers are for the Golden State.