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Rep. George Miller (D-CA) stands at a podium, flanked by Sens. Al Franken (D-MN) and Tom Harkin (D-IA)
Rep. George Miller with Sens. Al Franken and Tom Harkin
Despite all the fearmongering and false claims about job loss from Republican politicians and business lobby groups, raising the minimum wage is immensely popular with actual American voters. Popular as in a Gallup poll this month found 76 percent support for raising the minimum wage to $9.00 an hour. And it's looking like minimum wage may be an election issue in 2014, at both the federal and state levels.

While Gallup asked about $9.00, there's momentum building behind a $10.10 minimum wage, with President Obama recently coming out in support of Sen. Tom Harkin and Rep. George Miller's bill to do just that. The bill will not pass with Republicans in control of the House, though—if brought to a vote in the House, it might pass, but Speaker John Boehner would never allow that vote. The minimum wage can provide potent political pressure going into the 2014 elections, though, with Democrats pointing out that it is Republicans who stand in the way of minimum wage workers getting out of poverty.

States, too, are minimum wage battlegrounds; illustrating the issue's popularity, the same New Jersey voters who re-elected Republican Gov. Chris Christie effectively overturned one of his vetoes by voting to raise the state's minimum wage to $8.25 an hour. So congressional Republicans face additional pressure to act thanks to the news that minimum wage initiatives may be on the 2014 ballot in several states:

Across the country, in 2014 battleground states like Alaska and Missouri, minimum wage may make the difference for Democrats on the chopping block. In a few spots where Democratic senators face tough re-elections, activists are fighting to put minimum wage increases on the ballot, which could mobilize low-wage workers to get out and vote, a constituency that has favored Democrats in past elections.

"There are people who would sit out an election because they didn't see anything in there interest who would show up if a minimum wage increase was on the ballot," says Jared Bernstein, a senior fellow at the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Electorally speaking, you can do a lot with 76 percent support for an increase to $9.00. Just as millions of people now stuck at $7.25 an hour very much need—and deserve—a raise.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Tue Nov 12, 2013 at 07:23 AM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions and Daily Kos.

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