Poll shows broad support for state, federal minimum wage hike
Still, California voters recognize there could be some drawbacks, the USC Dornsife/L.A. Times Poll finds
California voters strongly support an increase in both the state and the federal minimum wage, even while they recognize potentially adverse effects of those changes, according to the latest USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll.
More than two-thirds (68 percent) of respondents said they support raising the federal minimum wage after they were told the current wage is $7.25 per hour. Only 29 percent opposed an increase. Similarly, 64 percent supported legislation signed into law this year by Gov. Jerry Brown that will gradually increase California’s own minimum wage from $10 to $15 by 2022.
Large numbers of Californians anticipate some drawbacks to the wage increase. Eighty-seven percent believed that prices will rise but 11 percent disagree. Sixty-six percent of California voters believe that a minimum wage increase will drive businesses to lay off workers, although 31 percent disagree. In addition, 65 percent believe the wage hike will prompt an exodus of California businesses that 31 percent believe won’t leave.
How high should it go?
The poll’s respondents also saw positive impacts of a minimum wage increase. Sixty-nine percent said that the change would give lower-income workers more money to spend, and 58 percent said that businesses will benefit from less employee turnover and higher customer satisfaction. Public opinion was more divided on the question of whether a wage increase would lift lower-paid workers out of poverty, with 52 percent in agreement and 45 percent in disagreement.
“It’s not clear from our survey whether Californians think that the potential downsides of a minimum wage increase are less important than the benefits or if they were simply unaware of those costs,” said Dan Schnur, director of USC’s Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics. “But there’s no question that this state’s voters are very strongly in support of that increase.”
When asked specifically about the federal minimum wage, Californians said they favored an increase but are divided on the appropriate amount. When told that the federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 per hour, the vast majority of respondents — 77 percent — felt that the minimum wage should be raised to $10.10 per hour. A smaller majority — 59 percent — believed that it should be raised to $15 per hour.