Wages are a Winning Issue

Why Run on Wages

Wages are a Winning Issue

The stagnation of the federal minimum wage stands in sharp contrast to a wave of momentum that is building all across the country for a fairer, higher minimum wage, as states and cities take matters into their own hands. Driven by local activism and bold lawmakers, millions of workers have received raises in recent years, and it’s no wonder: this is a winning issue.

Unlike almost every other issue that Democrats and Republicans find a way to argue about, voters from both sides of the aisle agree on the need to raise the minimum wage. They may disagree on what the new minimum wage should be, but virtually no one thinks that $7.25 an hour is adequate. 

You can see the poll numbers showing overwhelming support for a higher minimum wage, but this is one of those rare issues where we don’t even need to rely on polls – there’s an abundance of evidence from ballot initiatives across the country that voters in both red and blue states support a higher minimum wage. Since 2000, 15 states have had a minimum wage initiative on the ballot, and in 15 states, those initiatives have passed. Yes, you read that right, that’s a 100% success rate.

Raising the minimum wage has been so popular in fact, that if it were a candidate, it would be the most popular candidate in America. Every time a minimum wage ballot measure has been up for a vote, it’s earned more votes than either presidential candidate in the nearest election (aside from a close loss to Mitt Romney in Arkansas in 2012).

In 2016 alone, not exactly a great year for Democratic turnout, voters in Washington, Arizona, Colorado, Maine, and South Dakota all voted to raise their states’ minimum wages, giving 2.3 million workers a raise. Arizona and South Dakota are not friendly states for Democratic policies. And they’re not alone. Since 2006, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, and South Dakota have all passed ballot measures raising the minimum wage. Red state or blue state, this is a winning issue.

NEXT: Wage Basics →