Washington (CNN) - As the standoff in Wisconsin rages on, two new nationwide polls indicate more people support the public sector union workers over the state's Republican governor in the battle over collective bargaining rights.
Forty-two percent of the public sides with the public employee unions and 31 percent backs Gov. Scott Walker, according to a Pew Research Center survey released Tuesday. Nearly one in ten say they don't support either side, with 18 percent unsure.
The poll's release comes as protesters rally for the third-straight week outside the Wisconsin state capitol, upset with Walker's plan to limit collective bargaining rights for public-sector employees. The Republican governor, who was elected last November, says his plan is necessary to reduce his state's budget deficit, but pro-union groups say the governor is trying to curb long-held labor rights under a guise of fiscal responsibility.
A new CBS News/New York Times survey indicates that six in ten oppose the elimination of collective bargaining rights for the public sector union workers, with 56 percent opposed to the cutting of pay or benefits to reduce state budget deficits. The poll indicates a partisan divide, with Democrats and independents opposed to both moves while Republicans in favor of Walker's proposals.
A USA Today/Gallup survey released last Wednesday also indicated that 61 percent of the public would oppose a move in their state to pass a bill that would take away some of the collective bargaining rights of union government workers, with one in three saying they'd support such a move.
According to the Pew poll, two-thirds of Democrats side with the government employee unions, with Republicans favoring the governor by a 53-17 percent margin. Independents questioned in the survey are more divided, with 39 percent siding more with the unions and 34 supporting the governor.
The survey also indicates an income gap, with lower income people siding with the unions and more affluent people divided.
The Pew Research Center poll was conducted February 24-27, with 1,009 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
The CBS News/New York Times poll was conducted February 24-27, with 984 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.
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