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Unions Draw Sizable Support In NY Times/CBS News Poll

Mar 1, 2011

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Frank James

Americans are apparently much more favorably disposed to unions than the Republican governors and lawmakers acting in their name.

A New York Times/CBS News poll released late Monday found substantial support for unions among those surveyed.

In a survey of 984 people, 33 percent they viewed unions positively while 25 percent said they viewed then negatively.

About 60 percent said they opposed efforts to restrict the collective bargaining rights of public-employee unions.

In 1981, 67 percent of those polled thought labor unions had too much influence on "American life and politics," in the most recent poll only 37 percent had that view.

And in something of a stunner, when asked how states should best deal with their budget deficits, 40 percent said they favored higher taxes while 22 percent favored decreasing pay and benefits to public workers.

Some more data points: 36 percent of those polled thought public worker pay and benefits were "about right" compared with 26 percent who thought they were too high.

While this poll gives Democrats and other union supporters facing off with Republican policymakers some fresh ammunition, the GOP has their favorable polls, too.

For instance, Rasmussen found in a recent poll that 48 percent of respondents supported the stance of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican. That compared with 38 percent in that poll who backed the union.

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