In Pa., even Republicans want Specter to support Employee Free Choice Act

The latest Quinnipiac Poll in Pennsylvania helps explain what may be Sen. Arlen Specter’s second switch on the Employee Free Choice Act.

According to the poll, twice as many Republicans want Specter to support the worker rights measure than want him to oppose it.

Twenty-six percent of Republicans say Specter’s opposition to the worker rights bill makes them less likely to back him; only 13 percent say it makes them more likely to vote for him.

The numbers for Republicans vary little from the numbers for Democrats, Republicans and independents, taken as a whole. Twenty-three percent of Pennsylvania voters overall say Specter’s opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act makes them less likely to back him; 14 percent say it makes them more likely to support him.

Officials at the United Food and Commercial Workers and at the AFL-CIO told the World they attributed the poll’s findings to the enormous lobbying effort and campaign for employee free choice that unions have mounted in Pennsylvania and elsewhere. They also pointed out that many Republicans in the state belong to labor unions and that the membership of the unions has become well informed on the issue.

Pennsylvania AFL-CIO officials have said they told Specter that he would not get their support unless he backed the Employee Free Choice Act.

On Wednesday, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), the lead sponsor of the employee free choice bill, said that his staff and Specter’s staff were near an agreement that will allow Specter to return to his earlier position in support of the legislation.

jwojcik @ pww.org