SB 5, the union-busting legislation Ohio Gov. John Kasich worked hard to pass and is now working to save, seems headed for defeat in a statewide referendum set to take place on November 8th. But no worries, SB 5 supporters! Former Mass Gov. Mitt Romney, Presidential candidate and consistent straight talker, has come to the rescue. According to a tweet from CNN’s Peter Hamby, Romney stopped by a pro-SB 5 phone bank in Ohio to rally the troops.
Then, when asked what his own position was, Romney said….well…he didn’t have one.
The SB 5 battle lines have been largely partisan: the bill was passed by a Republican controlled Legislature and signed by the Republican Kasich. In a poll out Tuesday morning from Quinnipiac, Republicans were the only group that wanted to keep the law, which polls have shown is deeply unpopular.
Of course, there seems to be a fairly simple explanation for Romney’s hedging: the bill looks to be going down hard. Quinnipiac’s polling showed that repeal forces have a 25 point lead at the moment, and a recent Public Policy Polling (D) survey showed a 20 point one.
And with the law seemingly going down in flames, it’s probably not good political maneuvering to come out hard in support of it. Romney was shown in a recent PPP survey to be in a good position in Ohio, with the pollster even going as far to say that if the election was held tomorrow, President Obama would lose the state to Romney.
Given those circumstances, expect to see some more non-support support on SB 5 before the referendum takes place in a few weeks.
Update: Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul, asked by TPM whether the Gov. supports keeping SB 5 in place, said in an email: “Gov. Romney believes that the citizens of states should be able to make decisions about important matters of policy that affect their states on their own.”
Kyle is the Editor of TPM Media’s PollTracker. He graduated from Beloit College (WI) and began working in politics before getting an M.A. in magazine journalism from New York University, where he interned at TPM and the website of The New Yorker.