Opponents say poll shows most Ohioans don’t support new law
By Marc Kovac
Opponents of controversial collective-bargaining reform say new poll results are further proof that a majority of Ohioans don’t support the direction taken by Gov. John Kasich and Republican lawmakers.
Among respondents in a survey released Wednesday by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, 54 percent said they believe Senate Bill 5 should be repealed, while 36 percent said the new law should go into effect.
“The Quinnipiac Poll confirms what we are seeing on the ground in cities all across Ohio: Working and middle-class families support repealing SB 5,” Melissa Fazekas, spokeswoman for We Are Ohio, the group spearheading a petition drive to place the legislation on the November ballot, said in a released statement.
She added: “Over 10,000 volunteers are gathering signatures to support employee rights and worker safety. This unprecedented level of bipartisan support will help ensure Ohioans have the opportunity to make their voices heard in November by exercising a citizen’s veto.”
The Kasich administration declined to comment on the poll Wednesday.
“We’ve never commented on public polls,” Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols said in a released statement. “The governor’s drive to restore Ohio has never been about politics but about helping to create jobs and restore our state.”
But Sen. Shannon Jones, the Republican sponsor of Senate Bill 5, cautioned that it’s hard to gauge public opinion on statewide ballot issues.
“I’m confident that when Ohioans learn more about the substance of Senate Bill 5, they’ll be with us,” she said in a released statement. “We’re hearing from people across the state who are angry that they’ve been grossly misinformed by opponents of the bill. If Senate Bill 5 ends up on the ballot, we’ll work day and night to make sure Ohioans understand the truth about these reasonable reforms.”
Connecticut-based Quinnipiac regularly gauges Ohioans’ opinions of candidates and issues. It polled 1,379 registered voters over the past week about Kasich’s time in office and Senate Bill 5. The results have a margin of error of about 2.6 percent.
Overall, Kasich’s approval ratings have risen slightly, with 49 percent of voters still disapproving of his work in office, versus 38 percent who now approve of it. That compares to a 46 percent disapproval and 30 percent approval in March.
But 53 percent said they disapproved of Kasich’s handling of the state budget or believe that his proposals are unfair.
On Senate Bill 5, voters supported portions of the new law but opposed others. Half or more of those polled opposed banning strikes by public workers, preventing those workers from negotiating health-care benefits and eliminating seniority as the sole factor in layoffs.
But comparable margins supported requiring public employees to pay at least 15 percent of their health- insurance premiums and at least 10 percent of their wages for pensions and replacing automatic pay increases with raises based on employee performance.