Americans strongly favor boosting the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour but oppose raising it above that, a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds
By Eric Morath, Wall St. Journal
Americans strongly favor boosting the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour but oppose raising it above that, a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds. In the survey, 63% supported a rise to $10.10 from the current $7.25 rate. Senate Democrats have proposed an increase of that size and it is supported by President Barack Obama.
In the poll, 43% said they backed an increase to $12.50 an hour. Only 28% backed a $15 wage—the rate sought by union-linked demonstrators at fast-food restaurants across the country.
Democrats are likely to make the rate, and expected resistance from the GOP, an issue in the 2014 elections. Mr. Obama called for a wage boost last week to help narrow economic inequality.
Opponents say it would prompt businesses to shed jobs or slow hiring. "The minimum wage destroys entry-level jobs and is damaging to the economy," said Bill Dunkelberg, chief economist for the National Federation of Independent Business.
Support for the $10.10 rate was broad, including 61% of those earning $75,000 or more and 68% of those earning $30,000 or less. The survey found 77% of Democrats supported that rate, as did 47% of Republicans.
At $10.10, "even Republicans and tea-party supporters are close to break-even on the issue,'' said Bill McInturff of Public Opinion Strategies, the Republican pollster who directed the Journal/NBC survey along with Fred Yang of Hart Research Associates.
Last month, a union-backed effort to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour won voters' support in the airport community SeaTac, Wash. The increase for hospitality and transportation workers would take effect next year, if it survives a legal challenge.