Nearly two thirds of Americans support a $15 minimum wage

Graeme BruceBusiness Data Journalist
November 05, 2020, 8:00 PM UTC

A clear majority of Americans agree that the minimum wage should be increased. A new poll conducted by YouGov shows three-quarters (72%) should be higher, while just 15% say it should remain the same. 

How much higher should wages be? 

The Fight for $15, a widespread political movement to bring in a $15 minimum wage across the country, has been active since 2012 and primarily involves workers from the restaurant, retail and health care industries, all of which have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Overall, roughly two-thirds (64%) of Americans say they support a $15 federal minimum wage. Three in 10 (30%) would oppose such a move, and 6% say they don’t know. 

While it was not a central issue of either presidential campaign, the topic of a $15 minimum wage briefly came to the fore during the final presidential debate in October.  

Joe Biden adamantly supports the idea and said he thinks now is the time to implement it, during economic tumult. President Donald Trump is against a federal measure and suggested it should be up to the states. 

Trump pointed to conventional criticism that higher wages will hurt small businesses, however YouGov data shows that among Americans who describe themselves as an owner/proprietor, most (61%) support the wage hike. There is also support among all income levels and age groups, however support does drop slightly among older adults (67% support among 18-29, 68% among 30-44,63% among 45-64, and 59% among those 65 and over). 

About nine in ten (89%) Democrats somewhat or strongly support a $15 federal minimum wage. Support among Republicans for such a measure is much lower, with a little more than a third (36%) of the GOP support the idea. 

The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25, and while several states have enacted higher baseline wages, several others still adhere to the federal level. Our data shows that among most of those states there is majority support for a $15 minimum wage, including North Carolina (70% support), New Hampshire (68%), and Washington state (66%). 

Methodology: YouGov interviewed 30,951 US adults ages 18 and over. Interviews were conducted online October 23 – 26, 2020. Results are weighted to be nationally representative.