Raising the minimum wage continues to be extremely popular with the American public, even as Republicans in Congress continue to block it. A new Washington Post/ABC poll finds 66 percent overall support for increasing the federal minimum wage from $7.25, with even 50 percent of Republicans on board.
Republicans support a lower wage floor than Democrats, when asked separately about their preferred dollar amount. On average, Democrats favor a minimum wage of just over $10, while Republicans want it to be about $8.60 an hour. Independents fall in between, supporting an average minimum wage of about $9.40 an hour. All three groups set their preferred minimum wage higher than the current $7.25, but far below a $15 wage sought by some worker advocates.Of course, part of what said worker advocates are trying to do is push the discussion to make it easier for more people to envision a minimum wage that's truly a living wage; right now, too many people's imaginations are constrained by an elite political debate in which the options presented are the brutal poverty of $7.25 an hour all the way up to the quarter inch above poverty (for small families) of $10.10 an hour. Convincing people to believe that other workers don't deserve more—that they themselves don't deserve more—is a critical component of the four-decade corporate and Republican campaign to drive down wages and increase inequality. Yet even despite this success at getting Americans to think small, raising the minimum wage is still extremely popular.