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Insiders Welcome Wisconsin Showdown

MADISON, WI - FEBRUARY 21: Republican Gov. Scott Walker speaks at a news conference inside the Wisconsin State Capitol February 21, 2011 in Madison, Wisconsin. With state Democrats still in hiding over the legislation proposed by the Governor to restrict collective bargaining for public workers, Walker urged Democratic lawmakers to return to the capitol to conduct business. (Photo by Eric Thayer/Getty Images)

February 24, 2011

Both sides think the battle over union rights in Wisconsin will energize their partisans. "This showdown is electrifying the union base in states like Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Iowa," said one Democratic Insider. "This is looking more like union busting than budget balancing," said another. "It is energizing those that sat last November out."

Likewise, a GOP Insider said, "Independents are fed up with greedy public sector unions that resist sacrifice and Republicans will energize their tea party faction." Another said "Republicans should be picking these kinds of fights everywhere."

Republicans were overwhelming in their conviction that they would gain from high-profile showdowns with public employee unions. Not all Democrats were not quite as convinced that they were on the side of angles in this fight. Some wonder whether they could defend public sector unions when defined pensions and generous benefit packages are increasingly rare among private sector workers. And Democrats clearly understand they are playing defense on this issue. But for now at least it seems like both sides are saying, "Bring it on."

The National Journal Political Insiders Poll is a regular survey of roughly 200 Democratic and Republican campaign consultants, party officials, strategists, lobbyists, and allied interest group leaders.

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