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Poll: Voters support raising minimum wage

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South Dakota Democratic Party proposed to raise minimum wage to $8.50 per hour with annual cost of living increases. (KELO File)
South Dakota Democratic Party proposed to raise minimum wage to $8.50 per hour with annual cost of living increases. (KELO File)

SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO-AM) - In their early October survey, Nielson Brothers Polling (NBP) asked South Dakota likely voters four questions with regard to a prospective initiated measure on the minimum wage in South Dakota.

When asked about simply raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.50 per hour, 63 percent of likely voters said “yes,” 26.4 percent said “no,” and 10.6 percent were “undecided.”

Second, NBP asked whether the base wage rate for “tipped employees” should be raised from $2.13 to $4.25 per hour. 67.6 percent of respondents said they would support it, with 17.1 percent opposing it, and 15.3 percent “undecided.”

Third, when asked if the minimum wage should rise automatically with the cost of living, 58.9 percent of respondents said “yes,” 27.3 percent said “no,” and 13.8 percent were “unsure.”

Finally, when asked how they would vote on a proposed initiated measure that would include each of the above named provisions, 53.5 percent of respondents would vote for it, 22.8 percent would vote against it, and 23.8 percent were “unsure.”

Raising the minimum wage is popular across political parties. In fact, a majority of Democrats (first question - 78.0; second question - 73.3; third question - 69.3 percent) and of Republicans (first - 50.1; second - 61.2; third - 50.8 percent) support each element of the prospective initiative.

When asked whether respondents would vote for the initiated measure, support drops in both parties. 63.6 percent of Democrats would vote for it and 15.2 percent would vote against it. Republican support falls below 50 percent, as 44.1 percent would vote for it, and 29.2 percent would vote against it.

“A majority of voters in South Dakota currently support raising the state minimum wage,” says Paul Nielson, president of Nielson Brothers Polling. Nielson adds, “Raising the tip wage is the most popular element of the prospective initiated measure, while linking wage raises with cost of living increases is the least popular.”

This NBP statewide public survey of likely voters, conducted from October 2 - 6, 2013, also included previously released information on views toward US Senate candidates, US Representative Kristi Noem’s job rating, the direction of South Dakota, and responsibility for the government shutdown. 

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