Americans support raising the minimum wage by overwhelming majorities … or do they?
A slew of public opinion polling would certainly lead one to believe so. For example a Washington Post/ ABC News poll released last month revealed 50 percent of American adults would be more likely to vote for “a candidate for U.S. Congress (who) supports increasing the minimum wage.”
By contrast, only 19 percent said they would be less likely to support such a candidate.
Meanwhile in February, a Pew Research Center survey found 73 percent of American adults supported raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. Last August, a poll commissioned by the liberal National Employment Law Project Action Fund found support for raising the minimum wage at 80 percent.
Those are obviously consistent, compelling numbers.
But what happens when the wage debate is linked to jobs?
Last December, a Reason/ Rupe poll found 72 percent of Americans supported raising the minimum wage – consistent with other polling. But when informed that such a hike could “cause job layoffs or slow job growth,” only 38 percent still supported the increase – compared to 57 percent who opposed it.
Last month these results were confirmed by a Bloomberg poll. According to that survey, 69 percent of respondents supported a minimum wage hike – at least until they were informed that a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report estimated it would cost the country 500,000 jobs.
After hearing that estimate, 57 percent opposed the wage hike compared to only 34 percent who supported it. The Bloomberg poll also found only 49 percent of respondents who said the minimum wage issue would impact which congressional candidates they supported – making the results of that Washington Post/ ABC survey a little less impactful.
Clearly the minimum wage battle hinges on informing the electorate about the impact a hike would have on jobs. An informed electorate appears poised to reject such a proposal – even if their initial, uninformed inclination is to support it.