This morning’s poll came from the AFL-CIO, this afternoon’s comes from someone more reputable. I can’t find any crosstabs, so until they’re made public, there are two ways we can play this. One: Take it as a dire warning that the GOP may face a nasty backlash at the polls in the next cycle as Republican governors try to end PEUs’ both-sides-of-the-bargaining-table racket. Maybe that’s a price worth paying, but we should be prepared to pay it. Two: Insist that the public is on our side — or rather, that it will be once we explain the issues to them properly. This isn’t a policy problem, in others. It’s … a messaging problem.

Which of those two would a Democrat choose?

The public strongly opposes laws taking away the collective bargaining power of public employee unions as a way to ease state financial troubles, according to a new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll.

The poll found that 61% would oppose a law in their state similar to one being considered in Wisconsin, compared with 33% who would favor such a law…

The poll found people divided on whether public employee unions are a good thing.

And to think, I took Richard Cohen’s(!) anti-union column this morning as a sign that bipartisan consensus was crystallizing in Walker’s favor. What’s surprising about the result is that the public support for unions has dropped steeply over the past five years, falling from 60 percent down to 40 in 2009 before rebounding to 45 percent today. Even some unionized workers employed by private entitles seem annoyed at the advantages enjoyed by PEUs in an age of high unemployment and red ink at every level of government. And still, says Gallup — 61 percent.

In fact, the part on collective bargaining isn’t even the most depressing data in the poll. This is:

Even now, even now, even now, the public’s not serious about sustainability. I don’t know what to say. Although, in an odd way, maybe that graph will give courage to the GOP to press ahead. Voters are so ambivalent about what to do to balance the budget that you’ll end up being destroyed politically no matter which course you pursue. Republicans will be hammered over collective bargaining, and then Democrats — if they get their way — will be hammered for letting the Bush tax cuts lapse. Do the right thing and let the chips fall where they may.

For your viewing pleasure, here’s Valerie Jarrett shilling for unions this afternoon on MSNBC. Even Contessa Brewer sounds like she’s ready to derail the gravy train. Click the image to watch.