AFL-CIO political director Michael Podhorzer speculates that Mitt Romney is struggling in Ohio because of the state’s union workers (hat tip: Politico):
It’s worth noting that our internal polling shows President Obama with 57% of the union vote, approaching the 59% of the vote he received from union voters in 2008 according to the exit polls. Without the union vote, President Obama would be trailing badly in Ohio. Our internal tracking shows that those non-union voters contacted by Working America or Workers’ voice, who hear the same economic message are favoring the President, doing much to explain why support for President Obama among blue collar voters is much stronger in Ohio than in other parts of the nation.
Union workers, he argues, were upset by the Senate Bill 5, which was trying to curb state employee union’s collective bargaining powers:
Many have speculated as to why Obama’s standing with white voters, particularly white working class voters, has had such staying power in Ohio while deteriorating nationally. One cause that’s had a clear impact is last year’s successful referendum to overturn Senate Bill 5, an anti-union law backed by Ohio Republicans. While campaigning in Ohio in October of last year, Romney endorsed Senate Bill 5, saying he was “110 percent in support” of the law. Less than a week later, the law was repealed by Ohio voters in a decisive vote of 62%-38%. An election night poll conducted by Hart Research Associates found that white voters supported repeal of SB5 58%-42%, and white working class voters, nearly a majority of those who turned out to vote, supported repeal by an even wider margin of 61%-39%.
Furthermore, the Hart survey found that Romney’s endorsement of SB5 made 48% of white working class voters less likely to support him for president
SB5 was an important bill that was overshadowed by the Wisconsin union reforms. It was passed by a GOP legislature, and then repealed by voters. One interesting difference between Wisconsin and Ohio was that in Wisconsin, Scott Walker opted to not include police and fire fighters in those affected by the legislation (although he did include teachers) while the Ohio bill did include police and fire fighters.