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New poll shows number of Ohio voters against anti-labor law SB5 increasing

After a bit of a late summer lag, opponents of Ohio’s collective-bargaining-reform law, Senate Bill 5, have regained a definitive lead, according to a recent poll by Public Policy Polling.

First-term Ohio Governor and former Lehman Bros. executive John Kasich is also the least popular governor in the country. The PPP poll shows Kasich with only a 37-percent approval rating, compared to 54 percent of Ohio voters disapproving of his performance.

SB5, Kasich’s signature project, is doing even worse with Ohioans, with a disapproval/approval margin of 56 to 36. The poll suggests that much of the momentum for the law’s repeal comes from Democrats, with 80 percent poised to vote it out of the books. Voters will have a chance to repeal the law on Nov. 8, via a veto referendum known as Issue 2.

Now, after several serious gaffes from the pro-Issue 2 group Building a Better Ohio, including one commercial in which a grandmother opposing SB5’s effects on firefighters was co-opted from an anti-Issue 2 ad and spun to make her seem as though she supported the contentious law. The woman, whose granddaughter had been saved by rescue workers from a house fire, came out publicly against the deceitful commercial, costing Building a Better Ohio credibility in public perception, potentially explaining the recent jump in opposition.

The relative public approval afforded to the Occupy Wall Street movement could also explain some of the momentum, as unions in Ohio and New York have embraced the protests, which seek to promote awareness of the gap between the wealthiest Americans and the poor and middle classes.

Another poll on SB5 conducted in September by Quinnipac University, taken after both campaigns had begun airing television commercials in earnest, showed the gap had closed somewhat since earlier in the summer, tightening to 38 percent in favor of the keeping the union reform law on the books, and only 51 percent ready to repeal it. In July, only 32 percent of those polled were in favor of the law, with 56-percent opposed.

Public Policy Polling, ranked by the Wall Street Journal as the second-most accurate swing-state pollster during the 2008 presidential election, surveyed 581 voters from Oct. to Oct. 16. The poll was not authorized or paid for by any campaign or political organization, and utilized voice interactive software (“robocalls”) which, according to company’s website, eliminates the element of interviewer-injected bias and afford responders a greater sense of anonymity, allowing them to feel more comfortable providing onset responses.

Some questions in the survey, however, were phrased in such a way as to eliminate hot-button political responses from those surveyed, such as the question regarding the tea party-led initiative, known as Issue 3, to amend the state’s constitution to block the “individual mandate” of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, derogatorily referred to by opponents as “Obamacare.” On the survey, registered voters were simply told, “Issue 3 would preserve the freedom of Ohioans to choose their health care and health care coverage,” and asked, “If the election was today, would you vote for or against this amendment?”

Fifty-five percent of respondents said they were “for” this, while 24 percent were against it, and 21 percent were not sure.

Issue 3 will also be decided by Ohio voters on November 8.

Gov. Kasich is not up for re-election until 2014.

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