Our friends at Rasmussen Reports, the Republican firm that seems to use its polls to help its GOP friends rather than sampling public opinion, is back with a national poll that says people back Scott Walker in his dispute with public employee unions here by a 48-38 margin.

Why, you might ask, didn't Rasmussen ask the people of Wisconsin, who might have a better idea of what the issue is and what's happening?  Most likely because that would not have produced the results they wanted.  They are, after all, in the business of helping the GOP.

And another poll last week found people here siding with the unions.

Besides using a national sample, Rasmussen also loaded the questions, asking things like whether people thought public workers in their states made more money than private employees, and whether teachers, police and firefighters should be able to strike.

[UPDATE: Polling guru Nate Silver agrees.]

None of that has anything to do with the real issue in Wisconsin, but it's certainly enough to work up some anti-public employee bias before getting around to Question 4, whether people agree with Walker or the unions.  Here's the questionnaire:

National Survey of 1,000 Likely Voters Conducted February 18-19, 2011 By Rasmussen Reports

1* How closely have you followed news reports about the Wisconsin governor’s effort to limit collective bargaining rights for most state employees?

 2* Does the average public employee in your state earn more than the average private sector worker in your state, less than the average private sector worker in your state or do they earn about the same amount?

 3* Should teachers, firemen and policemen be allowed to go on strike?

 4* In the dispute between the governor and the union workers, do you agree more with the governor or the union for teachers and other state employees?

 5* Would you favor or oppose reducing your state government payroll 1% a year for 10 years, either by reducing the number of state employees or by cutting the pay of state workers? NOTE: Margin of Sampling Error, +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence

Submitted by xoff on