“Ahead of the midterm elections, some politicians – like New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie – are tired of hearing about the minimum wage as a central talking point.
For others, a candidate’s stance on raising state hourly pay could be a much more important issue when it comes time to casting votes.
The question of raising hourly minimum pay generally gleans support from voters across the aisle regardless of their politics, but has emerged as a partisan fight in Congress. Democrats are hoping ballot referendums to increase the minimum wage in a handful of states with close races could result in more sympathetic voters turning out.
“The public thinks this is a fair way to make life better off for people who earn low pay. They think it’s equitable and generally levels of support are quite high,” says Gary Burtless, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a center-left Washington think tank. “If it’s a top economic issue in the mind of many of these voters, then it can be important. But just looking at electoral returns, support seems to be much greater than it is for the political candidates who support raising the minimum wage.”