Majorities Oppose Governor Scott Walker’s Anti-Worker and Union Agenda

Voters in Wisconsin strongly agree with the working families at the state capitol and oppose Governor Scott Walker’s anti-worker agenda. Moreover, since the protests began, Governor Walker has seen real erosion in his standing, with a majority expressing disapproval of his job performance and disagreement with his agenda. Strong majorities disagree with eliminating collective bargaining for public employees and believe that if workers agree to concessions on pensions and health care benefits that the Governor should drop his plan to eliminate collective bargaining. 

Walker’s Standing is Poor, while Most Agree with the Unions and Public Employees

Overall, a majority (51 percent) of Wisconsin voters disapprove of Walker’s job performance and give him net negative favorability ratings (39 percent favorable, 49 percent unfavorable). In contrast, 62 percent of voters offer a favorable view of public employees (only 11 percent unfavorable) and 53 percent of voters rate labor unions favorably (31 percent unfavorable). When asked if they agree or disagree with the position different groups and individuals are taking in the current situation, voters side with the public employees (67 percent agree), the protesters (62 percent agree), the unions (59 percent agree), and the Democrats in the state legislature (56 percent agree). In contrast, 53 percent disagree with Walker and 46 percent disagree with the Republicans in the legislature.

Voters Disagree with Walker’s Agenda and Eliminating Collective Bargaining Rights

Just over half of Wisconsin’s voters oppose the agenda offered by Walker and the Republicans in the state legislature. Only 43 percent favor it. It is striking that there is a real intensity gap with 39 percent strongly opposing their proposals and only 28 percent strongly favoring it. When voters are presented with Walker’s specific agenda, including cutting benefits, freezing wages and eliminating collective bargaining, 52 percent oppose. The intensity gap actually increases to 41 percent strongly oppose and 24 percent strongly favor.

AFL-CIO (Wisconsin)-Memo (2.22.2011) (PDF - 4 K)

AFL-CIO (Wisconsin)-Results for Feb. 19-20 (2.22.2011) (PDF - 3 K)

AFL-CIO (Wisconsin)-Results for Feb. 16-20 (2.22.2011) (PDF - 3 K)


These findings are based on two surveys of Wisconsin likely voters. The first survey was conducted among 604 likely voters in Wisconsin between February 16-20, 2011, and is subject to a margin of error of +/- 4.0 percentage points. The second survey was conducted among 402 likely voters in Wisconsin between February 19-20, 2011, and is subject to a margin of error of +/- 4.9 percentage points.

Sources: Anna Greenberg and Melissa Egelsky

Client: AFL-CIO