Poll: Voters in battleground states back minimum wage hike

Support for raising the minimum wage is well-anchored in battleground states and could weigh on Republican hopes to flip the Senate in their favor, a new poll showed Thursday.

Public Policy Polling (PPP) surveys in six states — Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina and Wisconsin — found that a majority of voters support increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour and that Republican candidates could face backlash for their opposition.

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The margins of support range from 14 to 28 points with more than 80 percent of Democrats supporting the increase, at least a plurality of independents and an average of about 30 percent of Republicans in each of the six states.

Support is strongest in Illinois, where the percentage of people in favor compared to those opposed is 61/33. The margin is 58/36 in North Carolina, 56/35 in Kentucky, 55/38 in Louisiana, 53/38 in Iowa and 53/39 in Wisconsin.

Raising the minimum wage is a top policy initiative of the White House and congressional Democrats but has failed to gain any traction on Capitol Hill. 

The poll found that voters are less likely to vote for Republican candidates who oppose a wage increase, which could make a difference in a slew of tight races.

Again, Illinois leads the way with the 17 percent saying they would support a GOP candidate who opposes an increase and 47 percent saying they would not.

That margin is 24/47 in Iowa, 25/44 in Wisconsin, 31/39 in Kentucky, 29/37 in Louisiana and 32/38 in North Carolina.

That stance could specifically hurt Republicans in four states beyond November's midterm elections and into the 2016 race for White House.

Voters say the would blame Republicans over the Democrats if no minimum wage legislation is passed.

In Iowa, 53 percent said they would blame Republicans while 22 percent said they would blame Democrats.

That margin is 53/24 in North Carolina, 51/26 in Kentucky and 48/28 in Louisiana.

Voters are so supportive of increasing the minimum wage because few believe they could live on the federal $7.25 per hour.

Upward of three-quarters of voters in the six states say they couldn't support their families on minimum wage.

Voters across party lines agree that the minimum wage would not be enough to live on: an average of 83 percent of Democrats, 73 percent of independents  and 63 percent of Republicans share that sentiment.

In a separate report released Thursday, the Economic Policy Institute said that raising the minimum wage to $10.10 would translate to fewer workers relying on public assistance programs and allow less spending on safety net programs.