A new survey from Public Policy Polling (D) shows Ohio Democrats and public employee unions likely to win a big victory on Tuesday in the referendum on Republican Gov. John Kasich’s anti-public union bill, SB-5.
The poll shows only 36% of Ohioans will vote to support the law, while a decisive 59% oppose the bill and will vote to repeal it.
Kasich’s own approval mirrors those numbers, with only 33% approval and 57% disapproval. Kasich was elected in the 2010 Republican wave, defeating incumbent Democrat Ted Strickland by a 49%-47% margin. However, when asked if they could vote again, the respondents in this poll chose Strickland by a 55%-37% margin.
From the pollster’s analysis: “Democrats are almost unanimous in their opposition to SB 5, supporting repeal by an 86-10 margin. Meanwhile there’s division in the Republican ranks- 30% are planning to vote down their Governor’s signature proposal while only 66% are supportive of it. Independents split against it by a 54/39 spread as well.”
The survey of likely voters was conducted over the weekend, from November 4-6, and has a ±3.1% margin of error.
The law was passed earlier this year by Kasich and the Republican legislature. However, it never actually went into effect, as the citizen-initiated referendum process — spearheaded by the Dems an the unions — put the law on hold pending Tuesday’s referendum.
Triggering a repeal referendum required organizers to collect signatures equal to just six percent of the total votes in the last gubernatorial election, with additional requirements that they be sufficiently spread out around the state, with at least three percent of the gubernatorial vote across at least half the counties in the state. That meant the threshold was 231,150 signatures — but organizers fired their opening political salvo by collecting four times as many, thus creating a greater base for the actual campaign.
Ohio is one of many states where Republicans took over state government in 2010, and proceeded to pass comprehensive legislation to strip away collective bargaining rights for public employee unions. But unlike the high-profile cases of Wisconsin and Michigan, Democrats were able to use the state referendum process to put the law directly on the ballot — thus setting up a top-tier political battle in this major swing state, and a possible resurgence by the state Democratic Party.