Utah Voters Show Mixed Support for Raising Minimum Wage

New Utah Foundation LogoWhen Dan Jones & Associates asked Utah voters about raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to just over $10 per hour, 41% of them agreed it would be a good idea.

41% said no, it wouldn’t. More than 80% of Utahns who identify themselves as liberal wanted to see the minimum wage increased, but less than a quarter of those who call themselves conservative thought it should happen.

Voter responses to the minimum wage and other questions are outlined in a research brief published today by Utah Foundation. The issue of jobs and the economy ranked #5 on the top ten list created as part of the 2016 Utah Priorities Project, an election-year assessment of the issues most important to Utah voters.

The research brief also shows the earnings of 74% of Utahns are above the “living wage” calculated by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. By that standard, Utah ranks 31st in the nation. At the same time, the earnings of only 5% of Utahns fell below the federal poverty standard. That ranks 8th in the nation.

“In 2008 and 2012 jobs and the economy was the highest priority for Utah voters,” said Utah Foundation Research Analyst Christopher Collard, the author of the report. “This year it ranks 5, but a lot of people are still concerned about the cost-of-living and availability of jobs”

Collard continued, “There was little wage growth from 2009 to 2014, but 2015 was a better year and the data is still coming in on 2016.”

On the subject of a minimum wage increase, Collard said it would benefit many adults as well as teenagers. “A majority of those who would get a raise are between the ages 20 and 35.”

The research brief on jobs and the economy, along with all the topics from 2016 and previous editions of the Utah Priorities Project, is available on the Utah Foundation website,www.utahfoundation.org.