Poll Finds Minimum Wage Increases Have Broad-Based Agreement

source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/15427785@N04/

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/15427785@N04/

In early December, fast food workers went on strike again, protesting the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. Shortly after the strikes occurred, the Washington Post and ABC News conducted a December poll, asking for responses to questions about income inequality in America and the minimum wage.

Results showed that 66 percent of respondents favor an increase in the minimum wage, agreeing with the idea that raising pay will assist low-income workers. That statement was pitted against the idea that raising the minimum wage will cause businesses to cut jobs; 31 percent opposed a minimum wage hike.

It was an issue that split liberals and conservatives but still won majority support from every group. Liberal and Democratic support sat at 85 percent, while Republicans agreed at a 50 percent rate, and conservatives at 53 percent. Independents wanted to raise pay 65 percent of the time, and 71 percent of moderates chose an increase.

Raising the minimum wage is a policy that generally garners more Democratic, or liberal, support than it does from Republicans and conservatives. Part of this is due to what each group believes is the responsibility of the government.

The poll also asked if the federal government should or should not act to reduce income inequality. The should pursue/should not pursue split for Democrats was 76/19. Republicans had a 40/54 view on the matter, and independents were in the middle of the two camps at 58/37.

President Barack Obama said in his 2013 State of the Union address that ”no one who works full time should have to live in poverty.” He used his address to promote the policy of a $9 per hour federal minimum wage. Since giving the speech in February, Obama has changed his position to a federal minimum wage of $10.10 per hour.

Speaking in early December, the president discussed how raising the minimum wage is part of elevating the standard of living for Americans. “Investments in education, laws establishing collective bargaining, and a minimum wage — these all contributed to rising standards of living for massive numbers of Americans,” Obama said.

The fast food strikers were calling for $15 an hour in their strikes. Both the $10.10 and $15 levels are beyond the option most respondents chose in the Washington Post-ABC News poll. When asked, the wage bracket that had the most support (34 percent of respondents) was $7.26 to $9. Broken down by party, 36 percent of independents, 37 percent of Republicans, and 32 percent of Democrats chose that option.

Democrats chose the next bracket up, $9.01 to $10, at the same rate. However, support by independents and Republicans dropped off, to 23 percent and 21 percent, respectively.

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