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Americans oppose taking away union bargaining: poll


A protester holds a sign on the rotunda floor, on day eight of protests against budget cuts proposed by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, at the state Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin February 22, 2011. REUTERS/Darren Hauck
A protester holds a sign on the rotunda floor, on day eight of protests against budget cuts proposed by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, at the state Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin February 22, 2011. REUTERS/Darren Hauck

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Most Americans oppose laws that would take away the collective bargaining power of public employee unions, as has been proposed in Wisconsin, Ohio and other states, according to a USA Today/Gallup Poll released on Wednesday.

The poll found that 61 percent would oppose a law in their state similar to the proposal currently sparking mass protests in Wisconsin, compared with 33 percent who would favor such a law.

The poll also found Americans about evenly split over reducing or eliminating government programs, with 48 percent opposing such cuts while 47 percent favored them.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has said that he wants public union members to pay more for health care and pension benefits, to address a $3.6 billion budget deficit over the next two years.

Union leaders have said they would accept the cuts but object to Walker's additional move to limit collective bargaining rights.

(Writing by Mary Wisniewski, Editing by Peter Bohan)

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