Opposition to the Ohio law that limits the power of public employee unions has grown substantially in recent weeks, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday, offering a ray of hope to Democrats and their allies in organized labor as the presidential race heats up.
According to the poll, 57 percent of those surveyed said they would repeal the measure, known as Senate Bill 5, while 32 percent said they would keep it. The difference between the two camps is almost double the 13-point gap last month. That growing spread is heartening for Democrats and labor interests as they move further into the 2012 election cycle, during which Ohio is again a key battleground state.
On Nov. 8, Ohio voters will decide the fate of the law, which allows public employees to bargain for wages and working conditions but prohibits strikes. Workers will also have to pay for health insurance and pensions. The law is on hold pending the referendum.
The Ohio law, backed by Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, is similar to laws pushed elsewhere by the GOP, which made limiting the reach of public employee unions part of their national program. One such effort sparked weeks of demonstrations in Wisconsin.
Democrats and labor unions have pushed back. In Ohio, the poll suggests, their efforts are bearing fruit. The law is opposed by almost all demographic groups, including a majority of men and women, blacks and whites and those in non-union as well as union households. Only Republicans continue to support the law, according to the poll.
Ohio voters said they supported requiring government employees to pay more toward health care and pensions but opposed banning them from striking and bargaining over insurance.
The survey is based on interviews conducted between Oct. 17 and 23 with 1,668 voters registered in Ohio.