The 2011 American Values Survey, released last week, showed across-the-board support for increasing the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.00 an hour. Now, we’ve broken down our findings on this substantial increase in the minimum wage even further. Our new research note shows overwhelming support for this minimum wage hike, with two crucial exceptions: Americans who identify with the Tea Party and Americans who most trust Fox News as their television media source on current events and politics. Where majorities of people of all religious, socioeconomic, and generational backgrounds support raising the minimum wage to $10.00 an hour, only around 4-in-10 of both groups would favor such an increase. A majority of Democrats, Independents, and Republicans all supported the increase (82%, 66%, and 52%, respectively).
Within Americans’ sound support for a minimum wage hike, we found some notable variations. Women are more likely than men to support raising the minimum wage (74% vs. 59%), while Millennials (age 18-29) are much more likely than seniors (age 65 and up) to favor the increase. This makes sense, considering that Millennials are much more racially diverse than seniors: our data found that while majorities of all racial groups supported an increase in the minimum wage, Hispanic Americans and black Americans were much more enthusiastic in their support than white Americans (85%, 83% and 62%, respectively).
Millennials are also much more likely to actually be minimum wage workers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2010, workers under 25 only represented one-fifth of workers paid an hourly wage, but they made up about half of workers paid the federal minimum wage or less. Women are also disproportionately represented among minimum wage earners. Analysis of 2010 Census data from the National Women’s Law Center also revealed that record numbers of women (especially minority women and single mothers) are living in poverty.
All of this may begin to explain why some demographic groups are more emphatic than others in their support for this substantial increase in the minimum wage. But the numbers also show that majorities of nearly all Americans do favor the increase, regardless of income level, political affiliation, gender, age, or racial background. When it comes to raising the minimum wage to $10.00 an hour, members of the Tea Party and Americans who most trust Fox News are the outliers.