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Ohio Union Fight Could Boost Dems' 2012 Chances

A ballot battle over whether to keep Ohio's tough new restrictions on public employee unions could give labor supporters and Democrats a lift going into the presidential election year. But some Democrats fear losing the Nov. 8 referendum could be a dispiriting setback, sapping enthusiasm from the party's progressive base. Labor leaders expect to get a better sense of voters' mindsets when Ohioans decide whether to toss out a law that limits the collective bargaining rights of more than 350,000 public workers. Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland told The Associated Press that a victory would benefit not just Democrats running for the Ohio Legislature, but also President Barack Obama and U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown. Republicans, however, contend this year's election issue won't have a carry-over effect on the presidential race.