New Polls Bring More Bad News for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker

The public nationally and in Wisconsin remain unimpressed with the governor.


A trio of new surveys bring more bad news for embattled Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker. All three show that the public is taking a dim view of union-busting efforts, and all three have results that more or less dovetail with each other.

[See photos of the protests in Madison, Wis.]

A poll of Wisconsin voters by the Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling, for example, has 46 percent of voters approving of Walker overall, with 52 percent disapproving. On the specific issue that has dominated the state, 57 percent of voters believe that public workers should have collective bargaining rights, whereas 37 percent believe that they should not. [See the U.S. News debate: Should public union workers have collective bargaining rights.]

That 57-37 margin lines up pretty well with the results of a new New York Times/CBS News survey of adults nationwide which found that 60 percent oppose taking away some collective bargaining rights from public unions (38 percent strongly oppose, 22 percent somewhat oppose) while only 33 favor the idea (18 percent strongly, 15 percent somewhat). When the Times and CBS asked adults whether they would favor cutting pay or benefits for public employees in order to balance the budget, similar numbers oppose the idea (37 percent favor, 56 percent against).

[Find out 10 things you didn't know about Scott Walker.]

Similarly a new Pew Research Center poll of adults nationwide found a clear plurality siding with the public employee unions (42 percent) over Governor Walker (31 percent), with 18 percent saying they didn’t know which side they were on. The PPP poll, which just focused on a presumably better informed selection of Wisconsin voters gave majorities to Walker’s opponents—voters side with public unions 51-47 over the governor and they side with state Senate Democrats (the ones who have decamped out of state) by virtually the same margin, 52-47.

  • See photos of the Madison, Wisconsin protests.
  • Read the U.S. News debate: Should public sector workers have collective bargaining rights?
  • Vote: Is Walker right about public sector unions?