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Public Opinion on Raising the Minimum Wage

by Ruy Teixeira

Public opinion on many policy issues can be very complicated; there are nuances to the nuances, so to speak. Raising the minimum wage, however, is not one of those issues. Public support for raising the minimum wage has been, is, and likely will continue to be very, very high. People just think itís the right thing to do and decades of attempts by conservatives to convince the public otherwise have been an abject failure.

Consider these recently-released Gallup results. The last time Gallup asked a question about whether Congress should raise the minimum wage, in November of last year, a supermajority of 83 percent said they supported such a move, compared to a minuscule 14 percent who said they opposed it. The same Gallup report notes that, for the last two decades, public support for raising the minimum wage has consistently exceeded 75 percent.

Moreover, support for raising the minimum wage is remarkably high across partisan affiliations. In the November poll mentioned above, not only did 93 percent of Democrats favor a boost in the minimum wage, so did 80 percent of independents and even 73 percent of Republicans.

The publicís view couldnít be clearer. Now itís up to Congress.