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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, May 16 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 20
Huge majority supports $15 minimum wage, new poll says - Mayor is seen as most credible on the issue
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Huge majority supports $15 minimum wage, new poll says - Mayor is seen as most credible on the issue

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

A new EMC Research poll shows that a whopping 74% of Seattle 'likely voters' support a $15-per-hour minimum wage.

A January poll by the same outfit showed 68% support for the $15 wage. Eighty-three percent of voters in the new poll said they had been following the debate on the issue in the intervening period.

EMC sampled 550 voters who said they were likely to vote in the November 2014 elections. The margin of error is 4.2 points. The survey was commissioned by the 15 for Seattle coalition and paid for by SEIU 775NW.

SEIU's president David Rolf was the co-chair of Seattle Mayor Ed Murray's Income Inequality Advisory Committee (IIAC) that recommended the phased-in $15 minimum wage plan now being reviewed by the City Council. The 15 for Seattle group includes SEIU, UFCW, the Martin Luther King County Labor Council and other unions and community organizations.

City Council member Kshama Sawant, who campaigned for election last year promoting the $15 minimum wage, has said that the IIAC plan is 'good' and 'a step forward' but has offered amendments that would eliminate the three-year phase-in for big businesses and the complicated rules governing tips and healthcare during the phase-in period.

The new poll shows that most voters favor the Mayor's IIAC plan, however.

Fifty-seven percent of the respondents said they support the IIAC plan, and that number jumps up to 66% when respondents are told who is backing the plan. The 15Now proposal gets 45% support, and that goes up to 50% when pollsters explain Sawant is backing it.

Curiously, respondents seemed to like some individual components of Sawant's plan, but to prefer the whole IIAC package. For example, 38% said that tips and healthcare should never be counted towards the goal of increasing wages, while 26% agreed with the IIAC that they could be counted during the phase-in period.

In part, voters' preference for the IIAC plan may be due to their confidence in Mayor Ed Murray. Murray is seen as the most 'credible' of the various players in the minimum wage debate.

Forty-three percent of the poll respondents found Murray credible, followed by labor unions - who have backed the Mayor's plan - at 42% and fast food workers at 41%.

Sawant, on the other hand, is seen as credible by 32% and her Socialist Alternative Party is rated credible by only 17% of those polled.

On the pro-business side, The Seattle Times - which opposes the $15 wage - is seen as credible by 31% of respondents, and the Seattle Restaurant Association by only 24%.

In April, the business group, OneSeattle, released a poll showing only 47% support for a $15 minimum wage but the sample was unusually small, and only one of the questions asked in the poll was ever released.

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