Quinnipiac poll: Plurality support gov’t shutdown, limiting PEU collective bargaining
posted at 12:05 pm on March 2, 2011 by Ed Morrissey
American voters are split as 46 percent say it would be a good thing and 44 percent say it would be a bad thing if the U.S. government shut down because of disagreement in Washington over federal spending, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.
Looking at the controversy over pay for government workers, 35 percent say the pay is “about right,” while 15 percent say it is too little and 42 percent say it is too much.
To reduce state budget deficits, collective bargaining for public employees should be limited, 45 percent of American voters tell the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll, while 42 percent oppose limits on collective bargaining. But voters say 63 – 31 percent that government workers should pay more for benefits and retirement programs.
Efforts by governors to limit collective bargaining rights are motivated by a desire to reduce government costs rather than to weaken unions, voters say 47 – 41 percent.
In fact, the only result that comes close to the NYT/CBS poll results are on the question of reducing collective-bargaining options for PEUs. The NYT/CBS poll showed that 60% of respondents opposed that approach, while the Q-poll shows opposition by 62% … of union households. More than a quarter of union households actually support limiting collective bargaining for PEUs (29%).
In fact, union households was one of only three demographics with majorities opposed to limiting PEU collective bargaining. The others were Democrats (56/33) and self-described liberals (63/26). Independents narrowly support limiting PEU collective bargaining (45/43 in support), as do both men (47/45) and women (43/39), black voters (49/37), and of course Republicans (59/25). Every income demographic supports limiting PEU collective bargaining, as do the voters above 35 years of age. Even the younger voters who oppose it believe that the proposal to do so is an attempt to control costs rather than target unions in general (53/38).
Politico picks up on the poll results, but largely misses the story in the demographics:
In a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday, 46 percent of registered voters surveyed nationally said a shutdown would be a good thing for the country because it would stop the government from racking up more debt, while 44 percent said it would be a bad thing. At the same time, 47 percent of those surveyed said that responsibility for a shutdown would lie on the shoulders of the Republicans in Congress, while 38 percent said they would blame Obama. …
Government employees are paid too much, 42 percent of those surveyed said — a response from 59 percent of Republicans and 31 percent of Democrats. Six percent of Republicans and 24 percent of Democrats said public workers are paid too little.
Sixty-three percent of those surveyed said they would support requiring public employees to pay more for their benefits and retirement programs, while 31 percent were opposed to such a proposal. Republicans and independents were stronger in their support of public employees paying more, with 72 percent of GOPers saying they want to see public workers contribute more, while 70 percent of independents said the same. Democrats are more divided – 47 percent said they support public workers paying more for their benefits, while 45 percent said they would oppose such a move.
If Democrats wanted to cast this as an assault on the middle class by the wealthy, they have failed just as miserably as the NYT and CBS have in delivering a reliable poll result. The Hitler signs aren’t convincing anyone except the narrow set of true believers.