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Sorting out the truth in politics

PolitiFact: Republicans support minimum wage hike when amount isn't specified

The statement

"When I talk about (raising the) minimum wage … half of Republicans agree with it."

President Barack Obama, Wednesday in a speech to the Democratic National Committee in Boston

The ruling

Our first look at the data shows a minimum-wage hike is popular among Americans broadly.

But what about Republicans specifically? More than half of Republicans favor a minimum-wage increase, polls found, but in most of these polls, less than half of Republicans supported raising the wage to $10.10, the amount Obama is seeking.

One poll that did not specify a target amount for the minimum-wage hike was conducted by Quinnipiac University. It asked, "Would you support or oppose raising the national minimum wage, which is now $7.25 an hour?" Among Republicans, 52 percent expressed support, while 45 percent said they opposed it.

That provides some support to Obama's claim. But once respondents were asked by other pollsters about the $10.10 figure — a roughly 40 percent increase from today's federal minimum wage — Republican support sagged.

The clearest example is a CBS-New York Times poll from February that asked, "As you may know, the federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 an hour. Do you favor or oppose raising the minimum wage to $10.10?" Republicans expressed 42 percent support, 54 percent opposition.

Another clear example was an ABC News-Washington Post poll from December 2013 that asked, "The minimum wage in this country is now $7.25 an hour. What do you think it should be?" Among Republicans, only 21 percent favored keeping it the same or lowering it, but even fewer respondents — 7 percent — favored a minimum wage in excess of $10.

Two other polls showed Republican support close to 50 percent, but falling just short. However, the differences were within the margin of sampling error — it's possible that more than half of Republicans were in support of a $10.10 wage, though also possible that the actual support level was even lower than the official result.

A CBS-New York Times poll from January that asked the same question as the February poll found Republicans expressed 48 percent support, 51 percent opposition to a $10.10 wage.

And an NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll from December 2013 asked, "I'm going to mention a number of different amounts and for each one, please tell me if you strongly favor, somewhat favor, somewhat oppose, or strongly oppose raising the hourly minimum wage to that amount." When presented with the $10.10 rate, 47 percent of Republicans expressed support.

One poll clearly supported Obama's position. The January Pew Research Center/USA Today poll found 53 percent of Republicans backing a $10.10 minimum wage, with 43 percent opposed.

So Republicans do support a minimum-wage hike if you don't specify a dollar figure. We rate the claim Mostly True.

Edited for print. Read the full version at PolitiFact.com.

PolitiFact: Republicans support minimum wage hike when amount isn't specified 03/07/14 [Last modified: Friday, March 7, 2014 4:55pm]

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