CHICAGO Most Ohio voters want to repeal a controversial state law limiting public sector worker union rights, a poll found on Wednesday.
A Quinnipiac University poll found that 54 percent of Ohio voters surveyed said the law should be repealed, compared with 36 percent who said it should be kept.
The bill was passed by the Republican-dominated legislature March 31 and signed by Republican Gov. John Kasich the next day. Opponents are collecting voter signatures to get the measure, which has not yet taken effect, on the November, 2011 ballot for possible repeal.
"Although it is a long way until November when opponents of (the law) hope to ask voters to overturn it, at this point there is strong support for repealing Gov. Kasich's signature plan," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
The poll found that 53 to 36 percent of those polled believe the governor's proposals are unfair to people like them, which is identical to a March 23 poll.
The gender gap over the measure is large -- with 49 percent of men and 58 percent of women backing repeal.
Approval of Kasich's job performance rating has gone up among independent voters and Republicans and down among Democrats, compared with the March survey. Overall, Ohio voters disapprove of his job performance by 49 to 38 percent, compared to 46 to 30 percent disapproval in March.
While massive protests in Wisconsin earlier this year grabbed national attention, Ohio is more important to the union movement. It has the nation's sixth largest number of public sector union members, twice as many as Wisconsin.
Ohio's law prevents public workers from striking and abolishes automatic pay increases, replacing them with merit or performance pay.
One of the biggest problems for unions has been a change that does away with binding arbitration in contract disputes, letting the legislative body choose their own offer if negotiations fail. Opponents say this effectively ends collective bargaining altogether, since the employer will always win.
Quinnipiac, based in Hamden, Conn., surveyed 1,379 registered voters from May 10 to 16. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.6 percent.
(Writing by Mary Wisniewski; Editing by Greg McCune)