Voters think it’s time to raise the minimum wage Skip to content

Voters think it’s time to raise the minimum wage

Could you live on $7 an hour, or $14,000 a year? Is that a “livable wage,” which the minimum wage is supposed to guarantee? Voters know better, and the data shows it.

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The federal minimum wage was last raised in 2009 to $7.25 per hour. Since then, consumer prices have increased by 45% — including a 49% increase in medical care prices, a 51% increase in food prices, and a 67% increase in rental housing prices. Nonetheless, the federal minimum wage hasn’t budged in those 15 years.

In a new survey, Data for Progress finds more than 80% of Democrats, Independents, and Republicans believe that the current federal minimum wage is not enough for a decent quality of life — defined as the ability to afford basic necessities like groceries, rent, and transportation without struggling.

Voters were randomly split into three groups, and each was asked whether they support or oppose raising the minimum wage to one of the following rates: $9 per hour, $12 per hour, or $17 per hour. 

A $9 and $12 minimum wage are about equally popular, with both supported by more than 80% of voters, including more than 90% of Democrats, more than 75% of Independents, and more than 75% of Republicans. There is no statistically significant difference in support for a $9 and $12 minimum wage.

Raising the minimum wage to $17 per hour is also popular, with support from 64% of voters, including 85% of Democrats, 65% of Independents, and 45% of Republicans.

Strong majorities of voters in swing states (Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin) support a $9 minimum wage (88%), a $12 minimum wage (89%), and a $17 minimum wage (62%). 

Rural voters also support a $9 minimum wage (87%), a $12 minimum wage (85%), and a $17 minimum wage (57%).

Additionally, voters were informed that some workers are currently allowed to be paid below the federal minimum wage, including tipped workers (such as waiters and baristas), some agricultural workers, online platform company workers (such as Uber and DoorDash), and some disabled workers.

After learning this, 73% of voters — including 82% of Democrats, 75% of Independents, and 62% of Republicans — say that all employees should be paid at least the federal minimum wage. This includes 70% of voters in swing states, 78% of urban voters, 72% of suburban voters, and 68% of rural voters.

These findings indicate that voters overwhelmingly agree that the federal minimum wage isn’t enough for a decent quality of life, support raising it to $9, $12, and $17 per hour, and believe that all workers should be paid the federal minimum wage.


Written by Lew Blank, a communications strategist at Data for Progress. Cross-posted from Data for Progress.

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The Daily Wrap for Monday, 5/20

The Daily Wrap for Monday, 5/20

A very light news day, with most of the focus on the arrest of the golfer at the PGA last week. Of note, though, is Heather Cox Richardson’s summary of President Biden’s commencement speech at Morehouse.

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