So, if you word your questions in a particular way, you will probably lead the respondents to the answer you want. Then, if you focus particularly on one question when you release your findings, in this case question three–a nullity since Wisconsin state employees CANNOT strike, and an absurdity because police and fire are not included in Walker’s plan (presumably because they vote more conservatively than do members of other unions…read teachers, in particular…see )–you are sure to mislead the general public, especially if you read only the headline: ‘48% Back GOP Governor in Wisconsin Spat, 38% Side With Unions.’ article from 2/17/11
Here are three reasons this poll is skewed:
1. As previously mentioned, state employees CANNOT strike, so why ask that question unless you want to elicit a certain response?
2. Walker’s proposal targets (yes, that is a loaded word, but I think it is accurate, particularly in light of the Mother Jones article above mentioned) specific union members, most notably teachers, who tend to vote more liberally than do police workers and other public safety officers, who, interestingly, are not included in Walker’s plan…AT ALL!
3. The headline of the released article dehumanizes people who are members of unions by referring only to “unions” that are not human entities. The word union is polarizing in this country. Note that the Governor of Wisconsin maintains his humanity in the title as he is referred to not only by position but specifically by his surname. Union employees, who are also people, are not afforded that courtesy, thus it is much simpler for the reader to picture the “evil” unions rather than picturing neighbors, family members, and friends, who may be members of unions.
I would like to think that people can see through this proposal for what it really is: political posturing and pandering to “punish” certain workers while rewarding others for their political views. I would like to believe that Americans, and Wisconsinites in particular, actually want politicians to work together across party lines rather than to further the political and social divide that currently prevails. But perhaps that is a delusional belief….