Proponents of raising the minimum wage often point to public opinion surveys that show broad support for raising the minimum wage. But these surveys are incomplete—they ask respondents if they support a seemingly-good policy without informing them of the consequences.
The Delaware Restaurant Association used Google’s Consumer Survey tool to survey 500 registered voters in the state about whether they support the $10.10 minimum wage that a Low Wage Task Force recently recommended.
When asked simply if they support an increase to $10.10, the response was predictable and overwhelming: Over 75 percent of state voters said they supported the policy, with 54 percent strongly supporting it. Roughly 19 percent of voters opposed the policy, and four percent were unsure.
But then we asked a follow-up question: If voters knew that a $10.10 minimum wage would eliminate jobs for some Delaware employees, would they still support it?
(This isn’t an unrealistic caveat: A survey of 124 Delaware restaurants last year found that one-third would be very likely to eliminate jobs if faced with a $10.10 minimum wage. Moreover, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that a half-million jobs would be lost nationwide at the $10.10 amount.)
It turns out that support for $10.10 in Delaware crumbles when voters are informed of the consequences. The wage hike loses majority support, with just 45 percent now supporting $10.10. Strong support for the wage hike plummets by 30 percentage points, from 53 percent down to 23 percent. Notably, about 45 percent of Delaware voters now oppose a $10.10 minimum wage, and 10 percent are unsure.
That means over half of Delaware voters—55 percent—either oppose or are unsure about moving to a $10.10 minimum wage when informed that it will cost job opportunities in the state.