Will Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) get bounced from power for busting public employee unions? And what message does the June 5th recall election against Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D) hold for other states struggling to balance their budgets? For the coming showdown between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney?
The latest Reason-Rupe Poll reports from the Badger State. Passed last year, Walker's controversial Act 10 restricted collective bargaining rights for many public employees, causing the backlash that led to the recall election. Walker says such actions were necessary to contain costs and balance a budget facing a multi-billion-dollar shortfall. His opponents say that Walker is paying for tax cuts to the wealthy by cutting salaries and spending that help middle-class residents. (For more on the issues involved, watch this video.)
The Reason-Rupe Poll surveyed 700 Wisconsin residents during May 14-18th and found that while a large majority (71 percent) want public employees to contribute more to cover their health benefits, residents are not clearly against collective bargaining per se (51 percent want to see it "limited"). Fully 57 percent thought that police and firefighters - exempted under Walker's plan - should also pay more their benefits.
Although more residents support Barack Obama (46 percent) than presumptive GOP candidate Mitt Romney (36 percent), 50 percent want Scott Walker to keep his current job, with just 42 percent favoring Tom Barrett.
"A quarter of those who plan to vote for Scott Walker have a favorable opinion of Barack Obama," says Reason Polling Director Emily Ekins, who oversaw the survey. "[That] demonstrates that the desire to reform public employee [compensation] extends beyond partisan lines."
For full results and more analysis, go here.
About three minutes long. Produced by Jim Epstein, with help from Meredith Bragg, Joshua Swain, and Nick Gillespie.