Majority of Utahns Support Minimum Wage Boost

Most Utahns want to raise the minimum wage above the current $7.25 an hour, a new UtahPolicy poll finds.

But Utahns are split over what the new minimum should be, $15 an hour, $12 an hour or $10 an hour, finds Dan Jones & Associates.

Only Congress has the power to lift the minimum wage nationally – and it is set at $7.25 per hour currently.

But states, even cities, can adopt minimum hourly pay within their borders.

You can see minimum wage levels across the U.S. here.

Utah has adopted the federal minimum wage as the state standard.

Jones finds:

— 58 percent of Utahns want the minimum wage increased above its current level, $7.25 per hour.

— 10 percent want it to be $15 an hour.

— 17 percent want it at $12.

— 31 percent want it at $10 per hour.

Add those up to get the 58 percent number.

— 24 percent want the minimum wage to stay at $7.25 per hour.

— 15 percent want no minimum wage level (several Southern states have no state minimum wage).

— And 3 percent don’t know.

Democrats have been trying to raise the national minimum wage for several years, with no success.

Generally speaking, Republicans are against raising the minimum wage, arguing it will just hurt businesses and eliminate jobs for low-income Americans.

But studies show $7.25 an hour is not a “livable” wage – you can’t buy housing and basic foods with that wage level, meaning minimum wage earners have to work two or three jobs to provide for themselves and their families.

Jones finds some interesting demographic group breakouts in the numbers:

— One would think that 18-24 year olds would favor a minimum wage increase, since they are more likely to be in first-time, low-paying jobs.

But only 33 percent of that age group favors a minimum wage increase; 52 percent want to keep the wage at $7.25 an hour.

In the 25-34 age group, 52 percent want the wage increased to some higher level, 28 percent want it to remain the same.

As indicated above, most Utah Republicans don’t want the wage to go up.

— 48 percent say increase it to some higher level.

— 32 percent say keep it the same.

— 15 percent don’t want any minimum wage at all.

— And 4 percent of Utah Republicans don’t know.

Democrats favor a wage hike – 93 percent favor it, 2 percent say keep the minimum wage as is, 1 percent don’t want a minimum wage, and 2 percent don’t know.

— 57 percent of political independents want the minimum wage increased above $7.25 an hour.

— 22 percent say keep it as is.

— 19 percent don’t want any minimum wage.

— And 2 percent don’t know.

Jones polled 605 adults from Sept. 1-9. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.98 percent.

Since the Utah Legislature is heavily Republican and pro-business, it is unlikely lawmakers will act to raise the state’s minimum wage above the national level any time soon.