Most Americans Think It's Time To Raise The Minimum Wage: Poll

Most Americans Think It's Time To Raise The Minimum Wage

Most Americans think the government should take action to address the wealth gap, and even more believe the minimum wage should be raised, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll released Wednesday.

There is wide agreement that current government policies don't adequately address inequality: Of respondents, 64 percent say federal policies today do more to favor wealthy Americans, and just 26 percent said policies favor the less well-off. But 57 percent say the government should "pursue policies that try to reduce the gap between wealthy and less well-off Americans."

Many say one of those policies should be a minimum wage increase. Presented with arguments for and against the minimum wage -- that it would help low-income workers get by, but that it could lead some businesses to cut jobs -- 66 percent supported raising it from the current $7.25, while 31 percent opposed doing so.

Democrats were the most likely to support a raise, with 85 percent backing the idea, while half of Republicans and 65 percent of independents also favored increasing the minimum wage.

Among those who favored an increase, the mean wage suggested was $10.25. A recent proposal supported by President Barack Obama would increase the minimum wage to $10.10.

Other recent polling has found similar levels of support for increasing the minimum wage. A Quinnipiac survey last week found that 69 percent of Americans support increasing the minimum wage, and that 51 percent think it should be raised to $10.10 or more.

The idea has historically been even more popular. In seven polls taken since 1998, Pew Research has found support for an increase to $9 ranging from a low of 71 percent in February of this year to 87 percent in 2001. Gallup, which has asked the question since 1995, found support as high as 83 percent in both 1996 and 2005.

The Post/ABC poll surveyed 1,005 Americans by phone between Dec. 12 and Dec. 15.

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