Majority of New Yorkers back $15 minimum wage

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The majority of New Yorkers back raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, a new poll finds.

Fifty-nine percent back the pay increase versus 38 percent opposed, according to a Siena College survey released on Thursday.

The poll comes as Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) pushes a plan to raise the state minimum wage, and amid a growing debate on raising the federal rate.

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“There is strong overall support from voters for the Governor’s proposal to increase the minimum wage to $15,” said Siena College pollster Steve Greenberg.

“However, there are wide partisan and geographic differences,” he continued. “More than three-quarters of Democrats support the increase, while nearly two-thirds of Republicans oppose it and Independents oppose it 52-45 percent.

“Nearly three-quarters of New York city voters support the increase, as do 56 percent of downstate suburbanites – however, upstaters are nearly evenly divided,” Greenberg said.

“Women are more supportive of the increase than men, and while those who earn less than $50,000 annually overwhelmingly support the increase, those earning more than $100,000 are closely divided,” he added.

It's also becoming an issue in the 2016 race, with a number of Democratic contenders, including former Gov. Martin O'Malley (Md.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), in support of a $15 federal minimum wage. Vice President Biden, who is weighing a potential 2016 bid, has backed Cuomo's push to raise the wage in New York.

Hillary Clinton has suggested she would support raising the federal minimum wage to $12 an hour and has endorsed raising New York's minimum wage to $15 for fast-food workers.

Wednesday’s poll also found that New Yorkers are largely unimpressed with Cuomo’s job performance this summer.

Cuomo is underwater with a 39 percent job approval rating and a 59 percent disapproval rating. In July, he had a 39 percent approval and 60 percent disapproval rating.

His 50 percent favorability rating is largely unchanged from a 49 percent rating in July. His 42 percent unfavorability rating is slightly lower than his 44 percent scoring in July.

“It’s not like the Governor hasn’t been in public or involved in a lot of issues over the last two months since Siena College’s July poll,” Greenberg said.

“Yet, voters’ view of Cuomo – both his personal favorability and job performance rating – is nearly identical today as to how they felt about him two months ago,” he added.

Siena College's poll surveyed 817 New York state voters by phone from Sept. 14 to Sept. 17.  It has a 4-percent margin of error.

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