A new Quinnipiac University poll out early Wednesday showed that a majority of Ohioans favor repealing a recently-enacted law that limits collective bargaining for public employees. But from a polling perspective, it also suggested that, as Ohio voters became more aware of the debate that culminated with the bill's passage, certain rhetorical arguments became less important -- and opinions on the issue became less pliable.
When pollsters began testing public opinion on the issues surrounding collective bargaining, Republican pollster Adam Geller suggested that some pollsters' use of the phrase "collective bargaining rights" made respondents more likely to oppose limits on public-employee unions.
Quinnipiac, in fact, tested this argument in their last Ohio poll. Using a split sample, they asked respondents if they support or oppose "limiting collective bargaining for public employees" -- only, for half the sample, they inserted the word "rights" after "collective bargaining." The Q poll, conducted in mid-March, found Ohio voters were slightly more likely to support limiting collective bargaining when the word "rights" is omitted.
But in their new poll, there is virtually no difference in poll results among those asked the question with the word "rights" included, or without. Equal numbers of voters -- 38 percent -- support limiting collective bargaining, regardless of whether the word "rights" is included. And the percentages of voters who oppose those limits are virtually equal across both samples -- 50 percent without the word "rights," 51 percent with.
The Quinnipiac poll was conducted May 10-16, surveying 1,379 registered voters. The margin of error for the full poll is +/- 2.6 percent, but the margin of error is higher for results of split-sample questions.
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