A vast majority of Republicans say they would not be able to live off the current federal minimum wage, but they still don’t support raising it, according to a new poll released Tuesday.
The research, conducted by the left-leaning Public Policy Polling, finds 69% of Republicans say they don’t think it’s feasible for them to make a living off the current minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. And the feeling is bipartisan with 80% of Democrats and 74% of Independents sharing the same sentiment.
However, it does not appear to change the GOP’s stance. According to the poll, just 37% of Republicans say they support a raise to the minimum wage; nearly 3 in 4 Democrats back a hike. Overall, more than half of the respondents, 54%, back President Obama’s proposal for a higher minimum wage.
Strong Democratic support for raising the minimum wage is not surprising. In April, Senate Democrats introduced legislation that would have raised the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, but it failed, 54-42. The proposal needed 60 votes needed to move forward. Sen. Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican, was the only member of the GOP to break ranks and support the measure. Even if the Senate vote has succeeded, the future of any Democratic-proposed bill to raise the minimum wage had a dismal outlook. House Republican leaders have said they would not debate legislation unless it included job training programs.
Some 28 million American workers would have seen more money in their paychecks if Congress would approve an increase to the minimum wage, according to Sen. Tom Harkin’s office – the lead sponsor of this year’s bill. Sen. Harkin’s office also says the federal government would save $4.6 billion annually from people no longer relying on food stamps.
The poll findings comes after the launch of a new campaign, “Live the Wage,” which challenges lawmakers to literally live off the minimum wage. Former Gov. Ted Strickland (D-OH), now president of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, has so far been joined by Democratic Reps. Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, Tim Ryan of Ohio, and Keith Ellison of Minnesota. Americans United for Change, the group behind the move, are asking top Republicans, namely House Speaker John Boehne, an Ohio Republican, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican to join, but the lawmakers have not yet responded.
Data released last week from the Labor Department contradicts a long-held Republican view that raising the minimum wage can deter job growth and stunt small businesses. Job growth has risen by .85% in the 13 states where lawmakers upped the minimum wage this year, while the average in the other 37 states is .61%. But economists say the increase in the minimum wage is likely just one of many factors that contributed to job growth and not the sole factor in the job market spur.
The PPP poll surveyed 801 registered voters from July 18 to July 20. It has a margin of error of +/- 3.5%.