There has been some slippage in recent polls on Issue 2, the citizens veto of SB 5, the anti-union bill in Ohio. The No side would veto the bill, and they’ve been strongly ahead, albeit with less of a margin, in recent months. However, the campaign has really ramped up over the past couple weeks. And it turns out that when both sides get to make their arguments, the state of Ohio dislikes the stripping of collective bargaining rights and the right to strike. Public Policy Polling has the latest.
Labor is poised for a big victory in Ohio next month- PPP’s newest poll of the state finds that voters intend to reject Senate Bill 5 by a 56-36 margin. Although that margin is consistent with what we found in the state earlier this year, when we polled Ohio in August the support for repealing SB 5 had tightened to 50-39. These numbers suggest that momentum is back on the side of the groups trying to kill the bill.
The preferences of Republicans and independents on Senate Bill 5 are mostly unchanged from two months ago. Independents are evenly divided on the issue, 46/46. And Republicans want to uphold it 61/30. But Democrats have unified in their support for repealing SB 5. In August they were only planning to overturn it by a 69/21 margin. Now that figure is 80/13. That increase in Democratic support for repeal may be indicative of voters becoming increasingly aware what the implications of a ‘yes’ and ‘no’ vote are on this somewhat complicated referendum.
The fact that “No” on Issue 2 was the pro-union side was bound to lead to a little confusion in the early going, but that’s been sorted out. Ohioans are strongly behind worker rights, and they are poised to pummel John Kasich’s plan in a couple weeks. This is why Kasich begged labor to come to the bargaining table a couple months ago – interesting that the man who wanted to eliminate collective bargaining rights suddenly wanted to bargain – to work out a deal on SB 5. He knew that, even with the polls trending slightly in his direction, that he would not be able to convince the public that police and fire fighters and public employees should be denied their rights.
PPP has Kasich at 37% approval less than a year into his term, by the way, and he loses a hypothetical rematch with former Gov. Ted Strickland by 54-40.
Republicans will get a boost out of support for Issue 3, an anti-individual mandate measure (which pretty much has no force of law). That looks good for passage by 55-24, according to PPP. Democratic leaders in Ohio haven’t fully engaged on that and it shows; rank and file Democrats support the Tea Party-backed measure by 41-35. This is also the residual effect of a mandate that is generally unpopular in the country.
The defeat of SB 5 will be a signature moment for the labor movement, however, even though it’s a defensive measure. The energy of Wisconsin in the winter helped spark a national movement of protest and occupation, and it’s going to lead to a tangible victory in Ohio, stopping the right-wing tide of union-busting.