Ohio voters dislike Kasich's union, budget plans: poll

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 23, 2011 12:02 PM
Ohio voters dislike Kasich's union, budget plans: poll

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Most Ohio voters do not like how Governor John Kasich is doing his job, including his push to limit collective bargaining for public workers, according to a poll released Wednesday.

A poll conducted by Quinnipiac University found that Ohio voters disapprove by 46 to 30 percent of the way the first-term Republican is handling his job, with women disapproving by 48 to 25 percent and men disapproving by 44 to 37 percent.

"Gov John Kasich has gotten off to a rocky start with Ohio voters, perhaps not surprising given the size of the cuts in public service and state spending that he has proposed," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Connecticut university's Polling Institute.

Voters' views on collective bargaining were influenced by how the question was asked. Half of the 1,384 voters surveyed were asked how they felt about a bill supported by Kasich that limited "collective bargaining" -- and 48 percent opposed it, compared to 41 percent who supported it.

The other half was asked about a bill that limited "collective bargaining rights," and that group opposed the measure by 54 percent, compared to 35 percent, the poll found.

The poll found that 53 percent of voters thought that Kasich's $55.5 billion two-year budget proposal unveiled last week was unfair to them, compared to 36 percent who said it was fair. The budget proposed that the state sell off five prisons and cut aid to local governments to help close an $8 billion budget gap.

The budget proposal follows a push by Ohio Republicans to limit collective bargaining for public employee unions in the nation's seventh-largest state. Several states are pursuing similar curbs in one of the gravest threats to unions in decades.

Voters polled did support by 66 percent to 27 percent the part of Kasich's budget that would require public employees to pay at least 15 percent of their health insurance premiums.

The bill to limit collective bargaining for Ohio public workers and ban strikes passed the Ohio Senate and is still being reviewed in the House.

(Writing by Mary Wisniewski, Editing by Greg McCune)