Working Minnesota

New Poll Confirms: Increasing the Minimum Wage Is Incredibly Popular in Minnesota

February 19, 2014

One of the first issues the Minnesota legislature will deal with when their session starts on February 25 is the question of raising the minimum wage. A new poll from the Star Tribune shows that supporters of increasing the minimum wage are in good company.

79 percent of all Minnesotans support raising the minimum wage, ten points higher than a year ago.

That majority includes 83 percent of women, 85 percent of independents, 78 percent of those living in Greater Minnesota, and even 58 percent of Republicans.

While not everyone agreed exactly on the $9.50 target, very few Minnesotans polled believe that the current state minimum wage of $6.15 is sufficient. (The state minimum wage is $6.15 but is superseded by the federal minimum of $7.25.)

In fact, what the poll didn’t allow for is for respondents to express a desire for a minimum wage higher than $9.50. “I think it should be more. It should be a minimum of $10. Minimum,” 51 year-old temp worker Jeff Richard told the Star Tribune. “I don’t know how someone working for less would possibly live.”

Five Minnesota representatives are taking the Working America Minimum Wage Challenge this week to raise awareness about the issue. They are all spending the week on a minimum wage budget, which includes $35 for food.

Minnesota legislators receive a $66 per diem on top of their salary, which might make the experience of a minimum wage worker seem foreign to them. Reps. Clark, Hornstein, Lesch, Metsa, and Savick are looking to change that.

These representatives all in favor of Rep. Ryan Winkler’s bill to raise the minimum wage to $9.50 by 2015 and tie it to inflation, which passed the House last year. The poll shows that the public is firmly behind them.

“This clearly indicates that a broad swath of Minnesotans believe that this is the way to go,” said Brian Rusche, co-chair of the Minnesota Raise the Wage Coalition.

Follow the Working America Minimum Wage Challenge here at WorkingMinnesota.org.

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