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Poll: Floridians Strongly Favor Raising State's Minimum Wage

drawing of cash and coins
Money CREDIT: Pixabay

A series of polls from the St. Leo University Polling Institute shows Floridians deeply divided on some of the major issues that the state will face in the coming year. But most Floridians support increasing the state's mininum wage.

Floridians will decide in November's elections whether to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour.

The Florida Supreme Court on Dec. 19 ruled that the constitutional amendment pushed by Orlando trial attorney John Morgan could be placed on the ballot.

Fierce opposition is expected from business groups and the state’s tourism industry, which say hiking wages for low-paid workers could result in jobs being eliminated.

Polling Institute Director Frank Orlando says more younger people are in favor the proposed constitutional amendment - mainly because they'd be the most affected.

"But we also see a pretty strong partisan breakdown and ideology breakdown as well," he said, "with Democrats being far more in favor of this amendment than Republicans."

Chart on raising the minimum wage
Credit St. Leo University Polling Institute
St. Leo University Polling Institute poll on raising Florida's minimum wage

And even though 63% of those polled favor raising the base wage, Orlando says it's easy to ask these kind of questions a year before an election is held.

"There hasn't been a campaign with the other side beating away at the issue," he said. "Or attacking the other side. Or spending money to change public opinion on this. Or to get people more in line with the party's ideologies."

Orlando says it's interesting to see where people's opinions are now, but that also gives the campaigns on both sides plenty of time to figure out how to sway the public.

Congress hasn’t raised the federal minimum wage since 2009. Since then, more than half of all states have raised their minimum wage higher than the $7.25 an hour federal rate.

In 2004, Florida voters approved adjusting the state's minimum wage based on the rise in inflation. The current state minimum of $8.46 is higher and is set to increase by 10 cents on Jan. 1.

The proposal, called Amendment 2, would raise the state’s minimum to $10 an hour in 2021, and hike it by a dollar every year until it hits the $15 mark in 2026.

Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.
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