NEW POLLING Commissioned by NELP: Voters Agree—Raising the Federal Minimum Wage to $15 Is Good for Everyone

Recent battleground Congressional district polling confirms that swing district voters overwhelmingly side with workers leading the fight to raise the federal minimum wage to $15. Across all demographics, voters confirm that this is a policy that is good for workers and good for their communities.

Between January 22 and February 1, 2021, in a poll commissioned by NELP, Hart & Associates polled 2020 general election voters in the nation’s 67 most competitive Congressional districts. Fully 62% of those polled, including 59% in the districts won by Republicans, favored raising the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2025. These results reinforce the success of the Black-and-brown-worker-led Fight for $15 movement and the desperate need for at least a $15 minimum wage across the country, while demonstrating that this is a bi-partisan issue and one on which Congress should take immediate action. The voters’ agreement with raising wages also mirrors the November results in Florida, when 61% of voters approved a constitutional amendment to gradually raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 by 2025.

The federal minimum wage has been frozen at $7.25 since 2009. The Raise the Wage Act of 2021, which would gradually raise the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2025, would benefit nearly 32 million workers, which represents 21% of the workforce. In every part of the country, workers will need at least $15 per hour by 2025 to make ends meet, and indeed, in many places in the country, they already do.

Raising the federal minimum wage is a crucial racial and gender justice issue, as analysis from the Economic Policy Institute demonstrates that the majority of workers who will benefit from a $15 minimum wage are adult women, and Black women in particular. Raising the federal minimum wage is also more urgent than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic: A majority of people who would benefit from the Raise the Wage Act are frontline and essential workers, including those who work in nursing homes, hospitals, schools, retail establishments, food service, and the transportation industry. It is not enough to call these workers heroes. They need the wages they have been fighting for across the country.

The new polling results show that voters—a group that includes frontline workers—agree that workers deserve more than lip-service. A fair minimum wage is a human right, and workers in underpaid jobs need and are demanding far better wages than they are receiving. The results indicate too that voters understand that our communities as a whole benefit when Congress raises the wage—because they understand that we are all connected and that when we raise wages for those struggling the most, it is good for local economies as well as the workers who get better wages and their families.

Once and for all, it should be clear that any senator or representative who stands against raising the federal minimum wage to $15 is turning their back on workers and voters across the country. It is time for members of Congress to accede to the will of their constituents and pass the Raise the Wage Act for the collective good of the underpaid workers in their Congressional districts and for the whole of the communities they represent.

Read the full polling results here

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