66% favor Iowa minimum wage hike

Bills introduced both chambers but no signs of clearing deadline

Protesters dressed as Ronald McDonald and Wendy Thomas walk into Burger King on 33rd Ave, SW to deliver a letter to the
Protesters dressed as Ronald McDonald and Wendy Thomas walk into Burger King on 33rd Ave, SW to deliver a letter to the management about the company's wages on Thursday, December, 5, 2013 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The protest was held in conjunction with hundreds of one-day strikes and protests in cities across the country advocating a $15/hour minimum wage for workers in the fast food industry. (Adam Wesley/Gazette-KCRG TV9)

Two-thirds of Iowans support raising the state’s $7.25-an-hour minimum wage with roughly half saying it should be $10.10 per hour.

Republicans by a slight majority – 51 to 40 – are the only party, gender or age group tested by the Quinnipiac University Poll to opposed an increase.

“Raising the minimum wage is a popular idea in Iowa,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. “One-third of voters think $10.10 per hour is about right, with more preferring it lower instead of higher than $10.10.”

Despite that support from the public, there has been little progress in the Iowa Legislature to raise the minimum wage.

Bills to raise the state’s minimum wage incrementally to $10.10 by Jan. 1, 2016, have been introduced in both chambers, but have not cleared the Legislature’s self-imposed deadline for action on legislation.

However, rather than let SF 2260, a minimum wage increase proposal, die, it has been “referred from calendar to committee,” a move to keep it alive for possible debate this year.

As the Quinnipiac poll indicated, a minimum wage increase has strong Democratic support. It also received GOP votes when last raised in 2007. However, Republicans say they prefer to create an economic climate that attracts business development and the creation of skilled, high-wage jobs.

When Quinnipiac offered voters four choices:

• 34 percent of voters favored a minimum wage of $10.10

• 20 percent favored something less than $10.10 per hour

• 11 percent would increase it to something more than $10.10

• 29 percent opposed any increase

By a 46 to 31 percent margin, Iowa voters said raising the minimum wage will help, rather than hurt, the state economy. Seventeen percent said it would have no effect.

The poll of 1,411 registered voters, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.6 percent, was conducted March 5-10 by live interviewers calling landlines and cellphones.