Ohio: A Victory for Workers – A Roadmap to 2012

Working people across Ohio—from autoworkers to teachers and firefighters to the jobless sent a decisive and powerful message across the country, that politicians need to put Main Street ahead of Wall Street.  It shows that politicians who scapegoat workers and push an extreme partisan agenda need to instead fight to create jobs for working people and commit to restoring balance to our economy.

What happened in Ohio demonstrates the power of working people moving into 2012.  This race wasn’t decided by just union members and Democrats; independents, and a significant number of Republicans also turned out to vote NO on Issue 2.

The AFL-CIO commissioned Hart Research to conduct a 1000 person survey election night to better understand the results.  The key findings include:

  • Just 25% of Ohio voters feel that Issue Two (SB5) represented the kind of change voters were looking for in 2010.
  • Kasich’s political coalition has collapsed as a result of the Issue 2fight.  Overall, 26% of 2010 Kasich voters rejected Issue 2 this year–a group labeled “Kasich defectors.” These defectors will not be easy for Ohio Republicans to win back, since by a 62-28 margin, Kasich defectors now disapprove of Governor Kasich’s job performance.
  • The implications for President Obama and Senator Sherrod Brown, each of whom opposed Issue 2, are clear and unambiguously positive: Working-class voters will defect from the Republican column in large numbers to vote for strengthening the middle class.  Governor Kasich won white non-college voters by 14 points in 2010 (source: exit poll). However, these same voters opposed Issue Two by 22 points (61% to 39%), and just 41% now approve of the governor’s job performance.
  • The implications for Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Rick Perry are just as clear, and illustrate why Mitt Romney spent a day in October trying to reverse his previous full-throated support for Issue 2. By extraordinary margins of at least 30 percentage points, Ohio voters say they are less likely rather than more likely to support either Romney (49% less, 19% more) or Perry (51% less, 18% more) in next year’s general election as a result of their support for Issue 2.

This is a noteworthy bellwether election.  Moving into next year it lays out a roadmap for Democrats who want to win: embrace workers and their economic challenges or defend Wall Street.  They must put the needs of everyday working people over the needs of the richest1%.

Click here to read the entire Hart Research report.

Click here to read a related statement from Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis.

Click here to read a related article from NPR.

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