$15 Minimum Wage?
Marquette poll shows 51% of Wisconsinites support a large minimum wage hike.
Half of Wisconsin residents support a very large increase in Wisconsin’s minimum wage that would more than double what the lowest-paid workers earn, according to a new Marquette University poll. Yet Wisconsin lawmakers have yet to show any inclination they consider it a priority to make sure the lowest-paid workers in Wisconsin get a raise.
This isn’t the first time that Wisconsin residents have shown their support for increasing the minimum wage. In 2014, voters in 13 Wisconsin counties and cities had the opportunity to vote on a referendum asking lawmakers to raise the minimum wage – and every one of the referendums passed. Past polls by Marquette University have also shown that large majorities want the minimum wage raised.
What’s different about this poll is that it gauged support for raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour, more than double Wisconsin’s current minimum wage of $7.25. Past Marquette University polls asked about increasing the minimum to $10.10 per hour or did not identify a specific increase in the minimum wage.
The poll shows that just over half of respondents favor doubling the minimum wage in Wisconsin, and just under half oppose such an increase. That is a striking amount of support considering that respondents were asked about a very large increase in the minimum wage.
Support for a $15 minimum wage breaks along party lines, according to the poll results. About one-quarter of Republicans in Wisconsin favor a $15 minimum wage, with three-quarters opposed. Democrats’ support for a $15 minimum wage is a mirror image to that of Republicans, with three-quarters of respondents favoring and one-quarter opposing. An increase to $15 also has the support of most independents, who favor it by a margin of 8 percentage points.
Twenty-nine states, including our neighboring states of Michigan, Illinois, and Minnesota have set their minimum wages higher than the federal minimum wage, which was last increased in 2009.
Unfortunately, raising the state’s minimum wage doesn’t appear to be a high priority for Wisconsin lawmakers, despite the strong support for such a move shown by Wisconsin residents. The refusal to increase the minimum wage hurts the prospects of families who are working hard to climb the economic ladder. It also harms the state’s economy, depriving it of the extra money those families would spend at local businesses.