Tuesday, March 1, 2011

About that NYT poll on unions

It would be nice if the Times' poll focused on the feelings of Wisconsin residents. But since the assault on unions transcends Wisconsin, the poll is still valuable. Here's what it finds:
Americans oppose weakening the bargaining rights of public employee unions by a margin of nearly two to one: 60 percent to 33 percent. While a slim majority of Republicans favored taking away some bargaining rights, they were outnumbered by large majorities of Democrats and independents who said they opposed weakening them.
Now: If I remember my health care debate correctly, Republicans believe that polls showing this level of opposition to a policy makes that policy democratically illegitimate. I'm sure they'll follow through on their rhetoric and cease their union-busting activities immediately.


Rick Henderson said...

Republicans won't take your advice (surprise!), but a differently worded polling question (say, by Quinnipiac) might arrive at a different result. See the comparison here.

The NYT question about collective bargaining was general and abstract; the Quinnipiac question more concrete and tied to the current fiscal controversy.

All of which means that polling is a damned complicated business, and (IMO) most useful as a guide to policy when you're comparing responses from similar audiences to similar questions over time.

namefromthepast said...

I've also read that the poll was flawed from the standpoint of the sample. To the point where the poll was quite useless if examined more closely. But for the strictly headline readers it is quite compelling. Bravo NYT.

It was weighted quite heavily towards households that have a public sector union member. 12% of households have this distinction vs 24% of those polled.(working from memory but this is close)

NYT is, once again, doing the grunt work of the democrat party so the world is still on axis.