Poll: 61 percent oppose Wisconsin-style limits on collective bargaining

Most Americans would oppose a law limiting collective bargaining ones styled after the proposal in Wisconsin, a new poll found Tuesday.

Sixty-one percent of U.S. adults said they would oppose a law in their state taking away the collective bargaining rights of most public unions, according to a new USA Today/Gallup Poll.

Thirty-three percent of Americans would favor such a law, while 6 percent had no opinion.

If accurate, the poll could serve to validate claims by Democrats and labor leaders that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) and state Republicans have overstepped their bounds by pursuing legislation that would do away with most collective bargaining rights for public employees.

Walker's proposal has set off a solid week of protests by students and union members, demonstrations that have spread to other states where Republican governors have made similar proposals limiting labor rights.

Labor leaders seem to have already conceded one part of the GOP's reforms in Wisconsin, which call for increased contributions by state workers to benefits and pension programs. They've focused their attack instead on the measures to limit collective bargaining.

Republicans have rallied to Walker's defense in the meanwhile, and the governor has shown no signs of backing down, though the absence of Democrats in the state Senate (they're holed up in Illinois) has prevented the legislation from moving forward, with no end to the impasse in sight.

The logjam could break if the politics tend in one direction or another.

The AFL-CIO distributed a poll Tuesday morning by Democratic firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner   of Wisconsin voters, claiming the state's citizens were against to the proposed labor reforms.

The USA Today/Gallup Poll was conducted Feb. 21 and has a 4 percent margin of error. 

Updated 3:49 p.m.