The top headline on the Gallup website today reads, “Majority Receptive to Law Making Union Organizing Easier,” but it’s quite misleading. When you look at the posting in greater depth, it becomes clear that it doesn’t mean that a majority of Americans favor card check legislation.
The poll actually asked Americans, “Generally speaking, would you favor or oppose a new law that would make it easier for labor unions to organize workers?” In other words, no mention of the fact that the actual legislation being considered would deny workers a secret ballot. In response to this generic question, 53 percent said they favored the law and 39 percent they opposed it.
Gallup concludes that the results “bode well for the pro-union side” of the debate, but I don’t think that’s true. The reason is that the poll also showed that opposition to the bill grew the more closely respondents said they were following the issue. Among the 12 percent who said they were following the issue “very closely,” 58 percent opposed it compared to 40 percent who supported it. There are two possible interpretations for this: either critics of the legislation have been following this issue much more closely than pro-union side, or support for the proposal drops off once people hear more details about it. The latter explanation seems more feasible.
A January Diageo/Hotline poll defined the bill in detail, and found 50 percent opposed it compared to 37 percent who supported it — almost exactly the reverse of the Gallup findings.
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