Poll: Michigan's New "Right to Work" Law is Widely Hated

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Dec. 18 2012 10:19 AM

Poll: Michigan's New "Right to Work" Law is Widely Hated

Public Policy Polling runs a few tests on the new "right to work" legislation passed in the Michigan lame duck session. By every measure, voters dislike it and have turned on the politicians responsible for it. Gov. Rick Snyder's 2010 opponent, whom he defeated in an 18-point landslide, now leads him by 11 points. Democrats lead a trial heat for new legislative elections -- 23 months away -- by 25 points. A lot of results like that. This is the problem with something perceived as a "power grab." Voters, who don't typically obsess over process, get angry about it. Democrats learned that in 2010, when a number of their endangered, to their confusion, faced voters angry about the constitutionality of a health care mandate and the state funding included in early versions of the deal.

The Tea Party never had this option, though.

Only 41% of voters in the state support the right to work legislation, while 51% are opposed to it. If voters got to decide the issue directly only 40% of them say they would vote to keep the law enacted, while 49% would vote to overturn it.

Unions are still figuring this out, but they're hopeful they can outwit the Republicans -- who attached the law to a revenue bill, thus protecting it from the main ballot initiative law -- and get a few hundred thousand signatures to force this onto the ballot. If that pans out, I don't know how they'd be able to resist it. Right now, in Alabama -- which has been right-to-work for years -- Republicans are talking about amending the constitution to insure that the law could never be repealed. Republicans looked at Scott Walker's victory and decided that there was no downside to peeling apart the labor movement. Labor's got to pick somewhere to win.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics



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