Congress may never approve it, at least while the House is controlled by the GOP, but a Gallup poll shows a growing number of Americans is definitely in favor of raising the minimum wage.
More than three-quarters of those surveyed (76 percent) said they would vote for raising the minimum wage to $9 per hour (it’s now $7.25) in a hypothetical national referendum, a five-percentage-point increase since March. About one-fifth (22 percent) would vote against it, Gallup said.
Last week, New Jersey voters overwhelmingly approved an amendment to their state constitution to bump the minimum wage there to $8.25. This summer, fast-food workers around the country staged a string of protests demanding $15 per hour.
In his State of the Union earlier this year, President Obama said he wanted to see the minimum wage raised to $9. More recently, the Obama administration expressed support for the Harkin-Miller bill, which would raise the minimum wage to $10.10.
The federal rate has been raised a few times over the past few decades, most recently in 2007, soon after Democrats gained control of the House. States and cities, however, have begun to take matters into their own hands, tying it to inflation. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 19 states and the District of Columbia now have a minimum wage higher than the federal level of $7.25.
The nominal rate of the minimum wage has increased 2,800 percent from its original value of 25 cents per hour, but the real value of the wage has declined from its 1968 peak by 33 percent, Gallup said.
Not surprisingly, Gallup’s survey found Republicans less supportive of hiking the minimum wage than Democrats or independents.
The poll results were based on telephone interviews of a random sample of 1,040 adults Nov. 5-6. The margin of error was 4 percentage points.