As many have noted in the past week, the economy remains the dominant issue facing Americans, as many struggle to keep up in an age of stagnant wages and an ever increasing cost of living. Not surprisingly, there is strong support for policies that address the struggles of low wage workers, many of whom just barely get by or live in poverty. As the largest creator of low wage jobs in the US economy, the federal government has a particularly important role to play in improving the lives of workers and rebuilding the middle class. In a recent survey commissioned by Good Jobs Nation, voters overwhelmingly favor requiring the federal government to give preference to companies that pay their employees a living wage and provide benefits, as well as for the President’s executive order that raised the minimum wage for federal contract workers to $10.10. Support for these policy changes cross partisan, demographic and regional lines. Key findings include:
- A large majority of voters, 88 percent (54 percent “a very big problem”), believe that the growing gap between the rich and everyone else is a problem in the country. This view crosses party lines, as over three-quarters (88 percent) of Independents and 79 percent of Republicans feel this way.
- Sixty-two percent of voters rate low wage workers favorably, significantly higher than CEO’s (26 percent favorable) and Wall Street (24 percent favorable). Congress receives the lowest ratings among voters, earning only a 17 percent favorable rating.
- Almost three-quarters (71 percent) of voters support the executive order issued to require businesses with contracts with the federal government raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.
- Voters overwhelmingly favor the government taking further action in support of low wage workers. Seventy-seven (77) percent of voters favor the government, when awarding con-tracts, giving preference to businesses that pay their employees a living wage and providing benefits such as healthcare and sick leave. The depth of support for such a measure is evident, as it receives majority support regardless of partisanship or ideological leaning. In fact, 60 percent of conservative Republicans support the federal government taking such action.
Chart 1: Increased Pay and Benefits by Partisanship and Ideology
- After voters learn about the scope of the federal government in low wage job creation, to the tune of one trillion dollars in purchased goods and services and being the largest creator of low wage jobs, support for the federal government giving preference to model employers, those who pay a living wage and provide benefits and sick leave, remains almost unchanged (72 percent).
The above findings are based a national survey among 1000 likely 2016 voters. The survey was con-ducted November 5-9, 2014 and carries an overall margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent at a 95 percent confidence interval, with the margin being higher among subgroups. Forty percent of respondents were reached by cell phone, in order to account for ever-changing demographics and trying to accurately sample the full American electorate.
For a PDF of the memo, click here.