What We’ve Learned This Week About Politics and 2012

Events of the past week may offer a glimpse of what lies ahead for the GOP and for a beleaguered president and his party. Two Ohio ballot propositions showed the Buckeye State remains a bellwether of American politics. Sixty-one percent of Ohioans overturned Republican Gov. John Kasich’s efforts to rein in public-employee unions, handing labor (a vital part of President Obama’s political base) an important victory. It was also a significant loss for Mr. Kasich.

A recent Quinnipiac poll suggested why the package went down. True, Ohioans backed making public employees pay at least 15% of health-insurance premiums (60% favor, 33% opposed) and contribute at least 10% of wages for their pensions (by 57%-34%). However, respondents opposed restraints on public-employee unions, including a ban on strikes and limits on collective bargaining over health benefits. As many as one out of every five Republicans opposed Mr. Kasich’s reforms, perhaps because police and firemen were covered by them.



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