Minimum Wage: Would You Like a Raise With That?

The federal minimum wage, which was last increased in 2009 to its current $7.25 an hour, has been the subject of renewed interest on Capitol Hill and around the country. Recently, many local governments, from San Francisco to the nation’s capital, are taking steps to raise the the minimum wage. Fast-food workers are organizing strikes and protests in 200 cities later this week, pressing employers to raise their pay to $15 per hour, which would more than double the current minimum wage rate. In his February State of the Union address, President Obama proposed increasing the national minimum wage to $9 per hour. Congressional Democrats have since coalesced behind the Harkin-Miller bill, which would increase the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour; however, the measure faces significant opposition from congressional Republicans.

According to PRRI’s 2013 American Values Survey, more than 7-in-10 (71 percent) Americans favor increasing the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10 per hour. A solid majority of all major religious groups favor raising the minimum wage to $10 per hour, including black Protestants (89 percent), Catholics (78 percent), religiously unaffiliated Americans (77 percent), white mainline Protestants (69 percent), and white evangelical Protestants (61 percent).

Support for a minimum wage hike also crosses partisan lines, though Americans who identify with the Tea Party movement stand out for their significant opposition to the measure. Nearly 9-in-10 (89 percent) Democrats, roughly 7-in-10 (68 percent) independents and a majority (57 percent) of Republicans favor an increase to $10 per hour. By contrast, only about 4-in-10 (42 percent) expressing support for increasing the rate to $10 per hour and a majority voicing opposition (57 percent).

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