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A $15-Per-Hour Minimum Wage Sounds Good to Voters

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Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks at a campaign rally, March 23, 2016 at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles, California.Photograph by Robyn Beck — AFP via Getty Images

As California puts the finishing touches on a $15-per-hour minimum wage by 2022, Morning Consult’s policy polling shows that voters nationwide think that’s a pretty good idea.

More than half of 13,592 voters asked (55 percent) about raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour say they support the idea.

About one-third of all respondents (32 percent) “strongly support” such a wage hike, and even higher percentages of strong support appear among African American (55 percent) and Hispanic voters (41 percent).

That should be good news to Democratic presidential candidates who are vying for those voters. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is calling for a $15-per-hour federal minimum wage, while Hillary Clinton is calling for a $12-per-hour federal hourly pay rate, with high-priced states going even higher.

In Congress, Democrats have called for a minimum wage increase to $10.10 per hour over three years with annual increases based on cost of living after that. There is virtually no chance they will be successful in their bid, as Republicans have shown considerable opposition to the proposal even when they are in the minority. It took minimum wage supporters 10 years to raise the federal minimum wage from $5.15 per hour to the current rate of $7.25 per hour.

Minimum wage advocates have set their hopes on the states. Several states have set their minimum wage rates at a higher level than the federal rate, including California, which has a current rate of $10 per hour. The District of Columbia clocks in with the highest hourly pay rate at $10.50 per hour, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Massachusetts also has a $10 per hour minimum wage.

Morning Consult’s state-by-state breakdown of minimum wage supporters shows that California voters aren’t necessarily the most enthusiastic about a $15-per-hour minimum wage. Maryland is, with 46 percent of state respondents saying they strongly support it. Massachusetts comes in a close second with 44 percent of voters strongly supporting the $15-per-hour minimum wage.

In California, only 34 percent of state voters strongly support a $15-per-hour minimum wage, which is about the norm for the country as a whole.

There are other states where a minimum wage hike is decidedly unpopular. South Dakota residents have the lowest rate of strong support for a $15-per-hour rate, at 6 percent. Nebraska voters (14 percent) aren’t that far behind.

The minimum wage polling was conducted from October 25, 2015 to March 13, 2016 among a national sample of 41,562. The Morning Consult Policy Index is an ongoing poll of voters’ opinions about economic, technology, health, and environmental issues. The poll questions are designed to reflect national policy debates without referencing political parties or ideological identities. As data accumulates, Morning Consult can to identify small changes in public opinion and parse responses across narrow demographic attributes like employment status, prior voting activity, or religious affiliation.

This article was originally published on Morning Consult.