The NYT-CBS poll reported in today’s NYT offer data indicating majority American opposition to the GOPer attack on unions (“Majority in Poll Back Employees in Public Sector Unions”, NYT, 28 February, 2010).
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/01/us/01poll.html (trouble with embedding this morning?)
These data obviously contradict the claims of popular support for attacking unions. The polling is actually very, very encouraging. For instance, the strongest support for cutting benefits and wages is found among those making in excess of $100,000 and even these wealthier Americans oppose cutting public sector wages and benefits (45% support, 49% oppose). Also encouragingly, independents break with self-identifying Dems on the issue.
These data are highly unlikely to encourage GOPers to turn on their real constituents such as the Koch brothers and those of their ilk. But it is a big shot in the arm for those fighting for their rights – for all of us, really – in Madison and Trenton and Columbus and elsewhere. It also provides evidence that Democratic leaders would have the support of the public if they took a stronger stance, or at least a more active stance, of support for workers. It certainly gives space for a strategy of upping the rhetorical attack on GOPers.
President Obama: You said you’d walk the line with striking workers. You may get your chance. Do that and go on the offensive generally. The public supports the workers and your strong moral leadership will likely strengthen that base support, possibly even expand that support. If doing the right thing for Americans is not sufficient motivation to enter the fray in full, consider the consequences for you and your party if the GOPers win these fights now underway and to be decided in the next several months. If we do not win those fights, you and the party are in serious trouble. If those fights are won, you may gain in strength. With the support of the public, we can win this fight.
The American people are ready. Are you? Or maybe the better question is: Which side are you on?