Most Americans want a $10 hourly minimum wage

About 80% support a boost to the federal baseline rate, according to a poll. One reason may be that more Americans are working low-paying jobs.

By Aimee Picchi Aug 2, 2013 10:02AM

Image: Fastfood working (© Creatas/PictureQuest)In the battle over the minimum wage, the popular sentiment is leaning toward giving low-earning workers a raise. 

Some 80% of American adults want the minimum wage boosted to $10.10 an hour, while only 20% disapprove, according to a poll from Hart Research Associates. 

Support was strongest among Democrats, with 92% agreeing the baseline wage should be increased to $10.10. But a majority of Republicans also support the boost, albeit at a lower 62%. 

The reason behind the widespread approval for a minimum wage increase might be tied to the fact that more Americans are working lower-paying jobs. While unemployment is easing, much of the gain has come via jobs that pay rock-bottom rates. Friday's job report lowered the unemployment rate to 7.4%, but average earnings fell by 2 cents to $23.98 an hour.

Two of the industries that continue to hire are retail stores and restaurants, with merchants adding 47,000 jobs in July and dining and drinking establishments adding 38,000 last month. But those two industries are known for paying minimum wage -- or less, when it comes to hiring tip-based employees such as waiters and waitresses. 

At the same time, fast-food workers are organizing in support of a $15 hourly wage, with workers from McDonald's (MCD) and other restaurants staging walkouts this week. 

"Four years into the recovery, nearly 20 million Americans are unemployed or unable to get full-time work, wages are down and too many new jobs are falling at the low end of the pay scale," National Employment Law Project executive director Christine Owens said in a statement after the jobs report was released on Friday. 

Congress might want to take note of the minimum wage poll by Hart Research, since more than half of registered voters said they'd be more likely to support candidates who want to boost the baseline wage to $10.10. 

Even if Americans are increasingly living in a fast-food nation, that doesn't mean they want to earn peanuts. 

Follow Aimee Picchi on Twitter at @aimeepicchi.

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Aug 2, 2013 11:32AM

Republicans views a minimum wage job as a temporary position to get their foot in the door, make a few bucks while going  to school, and as motivation to better themselves for something that pays more.


Democrats view minimum wage jobs as a career choice.

Aug 2, 2013 11:01AM
I'm ok with it as long as Congress agrees to work for that's about what they're worth.
Aug 2, 2013 12:48PM
And what is going to happen to the people making $10.11/hour or higher? I will guarantee that their wage won't be going up for at least a year and probably a lot longer. However, their cost of living will go up considerably since all products will cost more to make. At some point, everything will reach equilibrium and the people in the middle will end up near the same spot and the poor will end up in the same spot asking for another minimum wage increase. In the mean time, the middle class, who are the majority, will be hurting. This will also create a greater incentive for businesses to move their operation to latin America and china. In the long run, this will hurt the poor.
Aug 2, 2013 10:55AM
You could raise the minimum wage to $50/hr and you'd still have the same percentage of poor people.

$10/hr is $400/week for full-timers, which is almost $20k per year.  Labor from someone who can barely read or write or do simple math probably isn't worth 20k/yr.  Labor from someone who can barely speak and understand English probably isn't worth 20k/yr.  Labor from someone who is only capable of filling drink cups and wiping off tables and cleaning bathrooms probably isn't worth 20k/yr.

If you want to make more money, make yourself more valuable.  No one is forced to work a minimum wage job.  If your labor and/time really is worth more, you shouldn't have any trouble finding a better paying job.

Aug 2, 2013 12:41PM

Where did they take this poll, Detroit?

Aug 2, 2013 12:49PM
If you raise the bottom they are still the bottom.  All it will do is inflate the cost of things and then the fact that you make a little more money won't matter because you will be paying more for things.
Aug 2, 2013 12:51PM
Most Americans are idiots. Just look at the white House.
Aug 2, 2013 10:44AM

fake president, fake economy, phoney inflation readings. nothing is real anymore. don't believe me? go ask alice.

Aug 2, 2013 12:50PM
The only thing the government cares about is getting the tax dollars on $10.00 per hour instead of $7.25 , don't be fooled
Aug 2, 2013 11:55AM

If a person isn’t getting $10.00 an hour it’s because their labor isn’t worth $10.00 an hour to their employer. If the minimum wage increases to $10.00 an hour those people will not get $10.00 an hour, they’ll get fired.

Aug 2, 2013 11:28AM
Typical Picchi article.  Taking what the minority thinks to the bank.  I really doubt there's 80% of American adults who think the minimum wage should be $10 an hour.  Aimee puts all her faith into one survey??  Pretty pathetic if you ask me.  
Aug 2, 2013 12:13PM
Hard for me to believe 80% of the country supports such economic foolery unless Hart Research is really representing our 'bleeding heart folks".  This will accomplish nothing more than increasing inflation and unemployment.  Any gains are quickly offset.  Finance and basic economics need to added to our high school curriculum so we can better educate our population to the real cause and effect of such actions. 
Aug 2, 2013 12:48PM
If McDonalds, Walmart, Burger King, every convenience store in the country, K mart, Sears, J C Penney, and on and on had to start at $10.00 an hour, what do you think the unemployment rate would be and get ready for $5.00 fries. You pay more, hire less, raise the cost of goods sold and eventually the profit margin.
Aug 2, 2013 12:51PM

"Most Americans want a $10 minimum wage"


A testament to the economic illiteracy of the American people.

Aug 2, 2013 10:47AM
What is this supposed to actually propose? What would we expect from a survey that asks what should the price of a home be? A car? What should the cost of healthcare be? What should the cost of an average families food bill per month be? You can go on and on, I would venture to say most would say a number less than what the current average bill be. So what, should we enact legislation to add even more manipulation to our economy? This is certainly not unexpected especially since the $10/hr number has been floating around for the last week, so as most drones would do they simply spit out what they heard.

This is news? On what planet? This type of information should be in the lifestyles section of MSN. 
Aug 2, 2013 12:39PM
Great idea!, minimum wage of 10 bucks an hour.  A good reason to pink slip all those not worth 10 bucks. Sack 'em all and Mickey D's would be a more efficient and courteous place. Not to mention the food would be better. 
Aug 2, 2013 10:56AM
Globalization can only happen by lowering wages in America to better match up with those in the
Asian Rim. Any attempts at wage increases here in the States will be futile.  Sorry but it just isn't in the game plan at this time.
Aug 2, 2013 1:17PM
Wages are best left as a private agreement between employer and employee.  Each exchanges something of value, work for money, at a rate that is mutually agreed upon.  If my employer doesn't agree that my burger flipping skills are worth $10 an hour, I'm perfectly free to find another employer who thinks they are.  If I can't find another employer to pay me $10 an hour for my burger flipping skills, then guess what.  My burger flipping skills aren't worth $10 an hour and perhaps I should acquire some other skills that an employer will find more valuable.  Forcing an employer to pay $10 an hour for a skill that's only worth $7 an hour ultimately ends up hurting everyone.  We ALL pay the cost of inflation.
Aug 2, 2013 10:48AM

when the truth is found

to be lies,

you know the joy

within you dies.

Aug 2, 2013 12:48PM
This is stupid, raise minimum wage all it does is make the cost of everything go up.  Milk, gas, food all get more expensive to cover the cost of the raise.
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