58 Percent Oppose Minimum Wage Increase if it Costs Jobs, but 51 Percent Would Accept Higher Prices

Two-thirds of Americans favor raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour, while 32 percent oppose according to the latest Reason-Rupe poll. However, support slips when possible costs are considered.

A slim majority of Americans (51 percent) would continue to favor even if raising the minimum wage caused businesses to raise prices and 46 percent would oppose. However, support flips and 58 percent oppose if raising the minimum wage caused some employers to lay off workers or hire fewer workers, while 39 percent would favor. While a price increase would shave off 16 points of support, jobs loses would reduce support by 28 points.

Willingness to pay higher prices or sacrifice jobs to raise incomes among some low-income Americans varies across partisans. Two-thirds of Democrats would pay higher prices, as would 50 percent of independents and 31 percent of Republicans. Fifty-four percent of Democrats would also be willing to increase unemployment, compared to 38 percent of independents and 20 percent of Republicans. Instead a majority of Republicans (77 percent) and independents (59 percent) would oppose a minimum wage increase if it harmed jobs.

Nevertheless, 59 percent do not believe raising the minimum wage will harm jobs, including 20 percent who think it will increase the number of jobs and 39 percent who estimate no impact. Thirty-eight percent think it will harm employment. When it comes to who believes jobs will be harmed, Republicans (56 percent) and independents (43 percent) are far more likely than Democrats (18 percent) to believe this.

When Americans were asked how they thought most companies would primarily pay for a higher minimum wage, a plurality, 38 percent, said companies would primarily charge higher prices, 32 percent said they would primarily lay off workers, and 24 percent said companies would reduce executive salaries and enjoy lower profits.

Republicans were more than 20 points more likely than Democrats to believe raising the minimum wage would cost consumers or employees, 83 percent to 60 percent. While Republicans were 8 points more likely to think it would result in higher prices (44 to 36 percent), they were signficanlty more likely to believe it would harm employment (39 to 24 percent) than Democrats.

These data help explain the high support for a minimum wage increase:  a majority of Americans are not yet convinced that raising the minimum wage could cost jobs. And they would be willing to pay higher prices if that were required.

Another reason public support remains high is that some people who already believe a minimum wage hike would harm jobs appear to forget when first asked if they would support a wage increase. For instance, among those who reveal they believe raising the minimum wage would reduce jobs, 38% initially support a minimum wage hike if job losses are not mentioned in the question wording.  However, when jobs costs were mentioned in the follow-up question, support plummets to 17 percent among this group. These data emphasize the importance of “top of mind” considerations when the public is making policy trade-offs. The more the media emphasizes possible costs, the more salient these cost considerations become.

Assuming no cost to jobs, majorities of Democrats (86 percent) and independents (66 percent) favor raising the minimum wage. Republicans are the only political group that opposes it 58 to 41 percent. However, just a few months ago a majority of Republicans favored raising the minimum wage.

Support for Minimum Wage Increase Declines Among Republicans and Millennials

Despite Republican opposition today, a majority of Republicans recently supported a minimum wage increase. In December 2013, Reason-Rupe foundthat a majority of Republicans supported raising the minimum wage 55 to 40 percent.  However, in April 2014 support declined to 41 percent and opposition rose to 58 percent.

Republicans aren’t the only ones who have begun to sour on the minimum wage increase. Support among young Americans (under 35 years old) has also declined 12 points from from 79 percent in December 2013 to 67 percent in April 2014, but support has remained consistent among older Americans.

Back in December a solid majority, 64 percent, of young Republicans supported raising the minimum wage, compared to 49 percent in April 2014. However, among Republicans over 55, support has remained roughly consistent with 43 percent in support in December and 42 percent in April. While margins of error are larger for these smaller subgroups, these data suggest that the Republican shift occurred particularly among younger partisans.

Overall support for raising the wage has slightly declined from 72 percent in December 2013 to 67 percent in April 2014, but still within the poll’s margin of error.

It is possible that the CBO report finding that raising the minimum wage would lift about 900,000 out of poverty but also cost about half a million jobs has reduced support, particularly among young people. Moreover, President Obama’s promotion of the wage increase has likely also driven up opposition among Republicans.

Nationwide telephone poll conducted March 26-30 2014 interviewed 1003 adults on both mobile (503) and landline (500) phones, with a margin of error +/- 3.6%. Princeton Survey Research Associates International executed the nationwide Reason-Rupe survey. Columns may not add up to 100% due to rounding. Full poll results, detailed tables, and methodology found here. Sign up for notifications of new releases of the Reason-Rupe poll here.

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  • Pro Libertate||

    Okay, I don't buy that people are really willing to pay more. They're just unwilling to say that they aren't.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    It's too broad of a question. People don't usually act on general principles but on specific conditions.

  • carol||

    Right. Raise prices by how much? People tend to think that an increase in the minimum wage will raise the price of a Big Mac by a buck and their attitude is, "I don't eat Big Macs, so who cares?" But tell people that the price of everything they consume will go up by x amount and they might very well answer the question differently.

  • Bryan C||

    Yeah. And ask them if they'll continue to buy their morning coffee at the now-more-expensive local convenience store, or hit up the now-cheaper chain store on their commute instead.

  • Reverend Draco||

    The average price of a Big Mac is approximately half an hour's minimum wage. . .

    I wonder what those who said they'd be willing to deal with increased prices will say when a Big Mac costs over $5?

  • Paul.||

    I refuse to acknowledge this on general principle.

  • C. Anacreon||

    Around our area, some spots aren't satisfied with $10.10.

    The most poverty-stricken city in the Bay Area, Richmond (sort of a similar city to Newark, New Jersey) is in the shadow of major oil refineries and has very high unemployment, especially among young men of color.

    Their solution: enact the highest minimum wage in the state of California. At least they didn't go with $15/hour, which was the original plan.

  • wagnert in atlanta||

    Well, of course! Wouldn't you rather be out of a $12/hour job than a $7.25/hour job?

  • Ken Shultz||

    "58 Percent Oppose Minimum Wage Increase if it Costs Jobs, but 51 Percent Would Accept Higher Prices"

    People respond to price signals.

    Not phone polls.

    This is in no way indicative of what they would actually do.

    There was this guy named Hayak. Emily should get to know him.

  • Zunalter||

    I am also not sure why people don't understand that even if they WERE willing to pay higher prices, the people who just got their wages increased would be paying higher prices as well...effectively negating the cost of living bump a pay increase would provide in a vacuum.

  • BakedPenguin||

    58 Percent Oppose Minimum Wage Increase if it Costs Jobs, but 51 Percent Would Accept Higher Prices

    Yuh-huh, sure. Stated vs. revealed preferences.

  • Drake||

    What if inflation cost jobs?

  • waffles||

    Skwerl bytes kan be pritty nastee.

  • ||

    Tonight on "It's the Mind" we examine the phenomenon of deja vu...

  • Pro Libertate||

    Good evening. Tonight on 'It's the Mind', we examine the phenomenon of deja vu. That strange feeling we sometimes get that we've lived through something before, that what is happening now has already happened. Tonight on 'It's the Mind' we examine the phenomenon of deja vu, that strange feeling we sometimes get that we've. . .(looks puzzled for a moment) Anyway, tonight on 'It's the Mind' we examine the phenomenon of deja vu, that strange. . . .

  • tarran||

    What channel is News for Parrots on?

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    It's dead, Jim.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    I've never been to that taqueria, so if it feels familiar tonight then we will have to examine deja vu.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Good evening. Tonight on 'It's the Mind', we examine the phenomenon of deja vu. That strange feeling we sometimes get that we've lived through something before, that what is happening now has already happened. Tonight on 'It's the Mind' we examine the phenomenon of deja vu, that strange feeling we sometimes get that we've. . .(looks puzzled for a moment) Anyway, tonight on 'It's the Mind' we examine the phenomenon of deja vu, that strange. . . .

  • Almanian!||

    What's that penguin doin' on the telly?

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Oh great, he's finally gone senile.

  • ||

    Do you young people even get Python any more or are you all like Aqua Teen Hunger Force-y?

  • Sigivald||

    24% of people thought companies would just eat the costs or "pay executives less"?

    God save us all.

    (Oh, I'm sure some executives would get less or get smaller raises... but people have ridiculously inflated ideas about how much money "those evil CEOs" make relative to actual income and costs.

    Like people on Facebook saying "pay congress nothing and fix the deficit!"... yeah, because that $90M a year would totally do that, right?)

  • Andrew S.||

    I'm all in favor of paying Congress nothing though.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Also, to be fair, if we rule out everything that doesn't solve the problem by itself with "it's just a drop in the bucket anyway" we'll never get back to where we should be.

  • ||

    It'd be better to let them keep their full paycheck on the condition they not show up to work.

  • Sevo||

    ..."and 24 percent said companies would reduce executive salaries and enjoy lower profits."...

    That's FUNNY!

  • Christophe||

    Typo: "law of workers" should be "lay off workers" in your first image.

  • Almanian!||

    OR SHOULD IT?!

  • kinnath||

    This proposal fucks over the working poor in so many ways. But one of the most important ways is how it turns semi-skilled labor into minimum-wage labor. Imagine the frustration of working hard for years to climb a few rungs up the ladder only to have the local high school drop out get an undeserved raise up to what you make.

  • UnCivilServant||

    I've had that happen. I was making 6.42 when the state raised the minimum wage on us. It didn't change my rates, but it erased the relative advantage my efforts had gained over the mouthbreathers who we couldn't pay less than minimum.

  • kinnath||

    My first job was at McD's. The high school kids worked nights and weekends. Women with families worked the primo weekday slots. They made 20% more than the kids did. Then the minimum wage went up and we all made the same amount. It really pissed the women off.

    And it happened to me in the years after high school when my 25% above minimum wage job turned into a 5% above minmum wage job. 2 years worth of raises wiped out by an increase in the minimum wage. And the price went up on everything that I needed to buy. Double whammy.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    That's really only a single whammy.

  • kinnath||

    Nope. It's two. There are consequences to working a minimum wage job (like credit worthiness) that aren't directly related to prices at the register. It hurts in many ways, some subtle -- some not, to being sucked back into a minimum wage job through legislative fiat.

  • Bryan C||

    Plus, both of those laborers now have to compete against the swarms of young unemployed college graduates, who are now attracted to their jobs by this higher minimum wage.

    It's almost like these proposals are actually intended to help employ young Democratic voters at the expense of older, poorer constituents. Weird, huh?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    NBA: $5 million fine and indefinite suspension for Sterling.

    Wow.

  • Andrew S.||

    Actually a lifetime ban and a $2.5 million fine.

    He'll sell the team for a gigantic profit over what he bought it for, and everyone around the organization, most of whom hated him even before this news, will be happier for it.

  • Brett L||

    Yeah, all he did was turn that team from a joke into a competitor. What a dick.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    They're talking about forcing him to sell the team. What if he doesn't want to sell? What are they going to do, break his kneecaps?

  • Drake||

    He owns a FRANCHISE, so that depends on what is in the Franchise agreement.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I see. For the sake of argument, let's say Sterling is obstinate. What can they take away from him? I gather permission to compete in the NBA and the team name. But if he wanted to hold the players, he could, right?

  • Brandon||

    No, if they took away permission to compete in the NBA, the players become free agents to other NBA teams. If they did that, the franchise immediately becomes worthless.

  • IDPNDNT||

    I'm sure the NBA could make the team worthless in other ways.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Everything else aside, I have a feeling being forced to sell is going to kill the price of the team.

  • Brandon||

    Nope, it might knock $50 million off the price he could've gotten last week, but there will be multiple bidders or the NBA will buy it and hold it until they can give Paul to the other well-located-but-completely-incompetent franchise on the East Coast.

  • sloopyinca||

    Yeah, all he did was turn that team from a joke into a competitor. What a dick.

    He let them be a joke for quite some time while cashing big checks due to a favorable lease with Staples Center and a revenue sharing deal with the Lakers. Their resurgence has been a very recent thing.

  • Calidissident||

    Do you know anything about the NBA? Sterling is a horrible owner and fucked over the franchise for decades. They only got good when lucked into Blake Griffin, was handed Chris Paul by the NBA, and he finally decided to stop being stingy and open up his checkbook to pay people. Even ignoring the racism, I don't think there's a single Clippers fan alive that thinks Sterling is a good owner (then again, not counting the bandwagoners that hopped on the last couple years, there aren't very many Clippers fans).

  • KDN||

    Behold the thirty-year debacle that was Sterling's ownership pre-Paul.

    My favorite part is how Griffin hurt his knee about three months after that was written. He probably should have stayed at OU for one more year.

  • Brandon||

    Yeah, all he did was turn that team from a joke into a competitor. What a dick.

    He's owned the team for decades. He turned it into a joke in the first place, and David Stern turned it into a competitor by screwing an actual decently-run franchise.

  • UnCivilServant||

    including 20 percent who think it will increase the number of jobs

    What the fuck? You make something more expensive, so more of it gets bought? Do one in five people really live in bizarro land?

  • ||

    Do one in five people really live in bizarro land?

    At this point I'm surprised it's that low.

  • tarran||

    Running the proggie explanations through the Derp to English translator, I get:

    If I had more money, I'd buy more shit, and then more people would get jobs making, selling, and delivering that shit to me!

    Yes, that's fundamentally what the argument boils down to.

  • sarcasmic||

    I just googled the subject just to see what the idiots were saying, and that's about it.

    Apparently some professor did an evidence based study that without a doubt proved that a high minimum wage has no adverse effect on employment at all. Because it used evidence it is infallible.
    So if raising minimum wage does not cause unemployment, and at the same time gives people more money to spend, then it must increase employment! Magic!

  • ||

    I hate that argument. I wish these top men would tell us why they don't just raise the min. wage to $1000/hour if there are no adverse effects and everyone is better off.

  • Robert||

    Probably they figure some of the minimum wage earners will then be able to afford to hire others.

  • ||

    When Americans were asked how they thought most companies would primarily pay for a higher minimum wage, a plurality, 38 percent, said companies would primarily charge higher prices

    And it never occurred to them that the workers making the new minimum wage would have to pay these same higher prices...

  • carol||

    Which leads to calls for an even higher minimum wage. The gift that keeps on giving.

  • sloopyinca||

    An ouroboros of retarded employment law.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    How do they feel about raising the minimum wage if it affects alt-text rates?

  • UnCivilServant||

    Graphs are not subject to the alt-text rule.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    You need to have more brain cells than Mary if you want people to take your comments seriously.

  • UnCivilServant||

    Alt-text jokes are there for the images that are not content with regards to the article text.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    It's amazing you can even type.

  • sloopyinca||

    In case nobody's heard, some NBA team owner just got fined $5M and got indefinitely suspended by the league in what most are calling a de facto lifetime ban.

    I wonder why this is the first I've heard of this.

  • RBS||

    My facebook blew up a few minutes ago.

  • Pro Libertate||

    What does that mean? He still owns the team, right? How is he banned?

  • RBS||

    I think it just means he's banned from NBA functions. So he can own the team but can't go to games.

  • Andrew S.||

    No involvement in the team's day to day activities.

    There's precedent in baseball, with the multiple suspensions of George Steinbrenner back in the early 90s, and the suspensions and eventual banning of Marge Schott.

    He's going to be forced to sell the team, more or less.

  • RBS||

    He's going to be forced to sell the team, more or less.

    I wonder how the other owners feel about the precedent that has been set.

  • sloopyinca||

    Publicly or privately? I would imagine there's a big difference.

  • RBS||

    For sure. I wonder how the Commish would feel if he was disbarred three or four days after saying something retarded?

  • Jerry on the sea||

    Yeah, Sterling should sue the NBA for antitrust violations.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Why? Because he agreed to be part of a group whose contract says they can kick him out if enough of them agree?

  • Idle Hands||

    yeah if you looked at what he actually said, it boils down to essentially telling his gf he doesn't want her hanging out with blacks. That sets the bar pretty low if I'm him I'm paying a private investigator to get dirt on every other owner.

  • Invisible Finger||

    No involvement in the team's day to day activities.

    I would think stuff like signing paychecks and authorizing payment for things like travel would be a day-to-day activity.

  • Andrew S.||

    That was the initial report. It ended up being a $2.5 million fine and a true lifetime ban.

    It's about similar to what MLB did to Marge Schott back in the 90s.

  • sloopyinca||

    Wait, they changed their mind as they were doing the press conference?

    Also, does anybody even watch the NBA anymore? IMO, it's rapidly declined in popularity over the past decade or so and the TNT/ESPN cabal have done nothing to keep it relevant with their fluffers.

  • Brett L||

    Why would I watch the NBA? Seriously, the NHL has the same problem. They play 80 games a year, of which maybe 5 are good, and then they have 2 months of playoffs. Put the top 4 teams in the playoffs, and fuck everyone else. No more of this half-the-league-makes-the-postseason bullshit.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Seriously.

    Like the NCAA BB tourney makes the regular season meaningless.

    The tourney is great but the top 65 teams get to go so why care about the regular season?

  • sloopyinca||

    You obviously don't know shit about NCAA basketball. The conference tournaments and regular season championships to a lesser degree mean quite a lot to the schools and teams.

    There aren't people camping out for days to get a first round ticket to an NCAA game, but they do for Duke-UNC. And try to get a ticket to a regular season game where OSU is playing Indiana or Michigan State. It'll cost you a lot more than a strip for the first two games in a subregion and probably more than a sweet 16 pair of games.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    No, you're basing your information on some source that was wrong. It was an incorrect "leak".

  • sloopyinca||

    Fucking HuffPo Sports and ESPN. (I was trolling when it came up)

  • sloopyinca||

    ANd more importantly than any of this minimum wage or NBA bullshit is the fact that the cast for the new Star Wars flick has been released.

    Max Von Sydow FTW!

  • UnCivilServant||

    When I saw that, my first reaction was "Wait - Max von Sydow is still alive?!"

  • sloopyinca||

    He's like the Lou Reed of the acting world.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Another odd reaction I'm having is, "Wait, how was Max not in any of the other films?"

  • Pro Libertate||

    I'd be even happier if they were replacing Abrams with, I dunno, Herzog? Star Wars: A Most Disturbing Dichotomy.

  • Almanian!||

    What difference, at this point, does it make?

  • Raston Bot||

    I'm a bit irked that the "no costs" question was even asked. It's not really an option.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    "58% of respondents said they would like to own a unicorn powered by rainbows, which would be delivered free to them every day."

  • AlmightyJB||

    That made me laugh:)

  • Brett L||

    TXU goes under, takes about $45B of private equity with it. Damn. 2007 seems so long ago. Back when people thought natural gas would be expensive and putting together a $45B private deal was possible.

  • Raston Bot||

    Last month, financial guru Warren Buffett told Berkshire Hathaway investors that his close to $2 billion bet on Energy Future bonds had lost the company $873 million.

    “Most of you have never heard of Energy Future Holdings,” Buffett wrote in his annual shareholders letter. “Consider yourselves lucky; I certainly wish I hadn’t.”

    good. fuck him.

    http://www.dallasnews.com/busi.....itects.ece

  • PapayaSF||

    Every discussion of the minimum wage should include the history of the idea. People think it was intended to improve the lot of the poor, but it was only intended to improve the lot of healthy, white men. The minimum wage was specifically intended to disemploy women, blacks, and the disabled. It was racist, sexist eugenics: white women were supposed to stay home and have kids, while blacks and the disabled would not be able to afford to have kids, thus improving the genetics of the human race.

    So today, we have something invented as a pesticide being sold as a health tonic. Of course it will cost jobs. That's why it was invented.

  • GroundTruth||

    Cognitive dissonance raises its ugly head again!

  • Reverend Draco||

    I used to work for minimum wage - and I hated it. The jobs that tend to pay dirt wages suck balls.

    Did I whine, and cry, and throw a tantrum, demanding that someone use their guns to get me a raise?

    Hell no.

    I learned a more valuable set of skills, and leveraged those skills to get a better-than-minimum-wage job. No guns, no whining, no tantrums. No minimum wage in over 25 years.

    The minimum wage, like unions, should be eliminated entirely.

  • MarkinLA||

    The entire cost of a product including the living costs of the employees making it should be born by the people who consume the product unless there is some social good like giving teenagers their first job. Minimum wage as it is now is subsidized by the taxpayer. What is so libertarian about that? It is better that prices rise and the business cover all the employees costs. Who cares if a business that can only stay in business if it's employees are subsidized by the taxpayer fails?

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