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Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) could face a real loss of support over the minimum wage.
Raising the minimum wage enjoys widespread popularity, as polling of 13 swing congressional districts currently held by Republicans reminds us. The polling, done by Public Policy Polling for MoveOn, finds a majority of voters supports increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 in the 13 districts, and that more voters in each district say they'd be less likely to vote for an incumbent who voted against a higher minimum wage. The districts polled were in Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington, and Wisconsin.
Minimum wage had the smallest edge on both measures in Colorado's sixth district, where 50 percent of voters said they wanted to see it raised from $7.25 to $10.10 to 44 percent who did not, and 35 percent said they'd be less likely to vote for incumbent Rep. Mike Coffman if he voted against raising the minimum wage, while 30 percent said they'd be more likely to support him. So that's the good news for Republicans. On the other hand, in New York's 11th district, 62 percent of voters support a $10.10 minimum wage to 31 percent who do not, and 44 percent of voters would be less likely to vote for Rep. Michael Grimm if he voted against the minimum wage increase, to 25 percent who would be more likely to do so. Special mention also goes to Michigan's eighth district, where Rep. Mike Rogers is retiring and where 54 percent of voters support a minimum wage increase to 39 percent who oppose it.
Raising the minimum wage had a lead of 10 points or more in 11 of the 13 districts, and voters said they'd be less likely to support an incumbent opposing a minimum wage increase by a 10-point margin in 10 of the districts. (As is the case with any internal polling, unfavorable polls can be kept private.)
This is news that has to redouble the Republican refusal to allow a vote on raising the minimum wage, to keep Republicans in swing districts from being forced to take such an unpopular vote. The task for Democrats is to hang the refusal to even allow a minimum wage vote around Republicans' necks so that even without an actual vote on the issue, voters go to the polls in November knowing where their Republican incumbents stand. If House Republicans in swing districts went to Speaker John Boehner and demanded a minimum wage vote, or joined with Democrats in signing a discharge petition, that could make an actual difference. If they won't do that, it's as good as a vote against.