Republicans Support Card Check? Huh?

Posted: May 06, 2009 7:25 AM
This Quinnipiac Poll claims Republicans are backing card check in Pennsylvania. The claim is made based on the answers given to a question deep in a survey about the recent defection of Arlen Specter to the Democratic Party.
19. Despite switching parties, Senator Specter says he will still vote against the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA / card check) which is legislation that would make it easier for labor organizations to sign up new members. This legislation is favored by labor unions and most Democratic leaders. Does this make you more likely to vote for Arlen Specter for United States Senator, less likely, or doesn't it make a difference?
The question comes after seven previous questions about Specter (how respondents feel about his switch, whether he's fit for office, ect.) and immediately after a question about whether or not respondents liked the fact that Specter could give the Democrats a filibuster-proof majority.

14% of Republicans responded that they'd be "more likely" to vote for Specter because he came out against card check, and 23% responded "less likey." In other words, twice as many Republicans were less likely to support him because he came out in favor of a Republican position.

In the opinion of a pollster familiar with EFCA surveys, the way the question is written is quite confusing. Its placement in the survey is "circumspect at best," and while he thinks there was no malicious intent overall, the question was certainly "sloppy." And the results are bizarre.
Based on the work we've done, and based on the work we've seen done — we've never seen numbers come back where Republicans are supportive of EFCA.
Wouldn't it be easy to glaze over the question and think "Anything that Specter does makes me LESS LIKELY to vote for him" ? And then check the "less likely" box, inadvertently coming out against his position on EFCA?

Additionally, does Specter even have 23 percentage points to play with in Pennsylvania in terms of the number of Republicans who actually support him? Rasmussen puts Republican support of Specter in Pennsylvania at only 30% before his defection. So, 23% of them would take back their support because Specter has adopted a more conservative opinion on card check?


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