A huge majority of Americans want a $15 minimum wage, but they waver after hearing its economic impact

An overwhelming majority of respondents in a new INSIDER poll indicated they would support a $15 minimum wage, highlighting how a progressive priority has gained support across the ideological spectrum. But support declined markedly among self-identified Democrats and self-identified Republicans when they were told of its possible impact on the American economy.

The broad support is good news for House Democrats. They voted 231-199 on Thursday to gradually lift the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025, delivering on a priority that’s long been popular among their liberal base. But the bill is not expected to advance in the GOP-led Senate, where Republicans argue it would kill jobs and stymie economic gains made under President Donald Trump’s time in office.

The vote follows a report released last week from the Congressional Budget Office projecting that a $15 minimum wage could lift 1.3 million Americans out of poverty but also put an equal number of Americans out of work. It also projected that raising the minimum wage would boost pay for 27 million workers.

Read more: A government report found that if the US raised the minimum wage to $15 an hour it would eliminate 1.3 million jobs — but also lift 1.3 million Americans out of poverty

The federal minimum wage stands at $7.25, and it hasn’t been raised in a decade. Last month marked the longest period in American history without a wage increase, according to the Economic Policy Institute. But with wages stagnant, the $15 minimum wage has become a political priority among Democrats: Nearly all the primary candidates have endorsed it.

In our poll, we asked over 1,100 respondents about their views on raising the minimum wage and its possible impact, per the CBO report. We did this by asking two separate questions.

The first question, “Do you support or oppose increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour?” was intended to determine whether the respondent liked the broad policy change of hiking the minimum wage.

Overall, a total 63% of respondents supported or strongly supported increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour, with the strongest supporters being on the left, and only 22% opposed. Around 81% of respondents who self-identified as Democratic primary voters supported or strongly supported raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Only 10% opposed or strongly opposed it, and 7% neither supported nor opposed it. One percent responded, “I don’t know.”

The second question asked more about the broader policy implications of the minimum wage hike, per the CBO. Much later in the survey, respondents were asked:

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found that a proposed policy would have the following impacts: Pay increases for 27 million workers, 1.3 million households lifted out of poverty, however, a median projection of 1.3 million job losses.

Based on those benefits and costs alone, would you support or oppose that policy proposal?

After being told that “a proposed policy” to raise the minimum wage could lead to 1.3 million job losses, people were considerably less enthusiastic. Thirty-seven percent of respondents would support a policy with those implications, considerably down from the 63% who backed a $15 minimum wage.

However, while some were turned off by the policy — 25% opposed it, up from the 22% who opposed the $15 minimum wage — more simply became neutral on the topic or said they didn’t know how they’d feel, a group that constitutes 37% of the set compared with just 15% who answered that way in response to the more straightforward $15 per hour question.

Indeed, only half of Democratic respondents still supported or strongly supported the generic measure. Then 16% opposed or strongly opposed it, and 24% neither supported nor opposed it. Nine percent said, “I don’t know.”

The same trend was visible among self-identified Republicans. Forty-three percent supported or strongly supported a $15 minimum wage, while 40% opposed or strongly opposed the measure. Fifteen percent neither supported nor opposed it, and 1% responded, “I don’t know.”

Only 24% of Republican respondents supported or strongly supported it after being told that a policy to raise the wage would lead to the job losses. Forty-four percent opposed or strongly opposed it, while 26% neither supported nor opposed it. Six percent said, “I don’t know.”

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