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Most Americans Support Raising Minimum Wage To Ten Dollars Per Hour, Survey Finds

First Posted: 11/09/2011 5:05 pm EST Updated: 02/13/2013 4:17 pm EST

The majority of Americans say they support raising the minimum wage -- by a lot.

More than two-thirds of Americans say lawmakers should raise the national minimum wage to $10 per hour from its current $7.25, a survey from the Public Religion Research Institute finds. While Democrats were more likely to support a minimum wage boost, more than half of Republican respondents said they would like to see the minimum wage go up, according to the survey.

Support for a minimum wage boost has held at stable levels for more than a year. Last year's version of the same PRRI survey, called the American Values Survey, found that two-thirds of Americans supported a hike in the minimum wage at the time.

If the current findings hold true come election day, some Republican candidates for president may have to change their tune. Herman Cain's campaign has floated the idea of scaling back minimum wage laws in impoverished areas and Michele Bachmann has said she would consider lowering it. Ron Paul has said that the minimum wage should be scrapped completely.

The candidates' views of the minimum wage are not only at odds with those of many Americans, they contradict some economists' opinions as well. A minimum wage boost would help to spur growth by pumping more money into the economy without cutting jobs, a July study from the left-leaning Center for American Progress found.

Another study from researchers at the University of California-Berkley found that raising the minimum wage would also cut down on turnover in low-wage jobs.

Still, some argue that a rise in the minimum wage would be harmful for job seekers. A study from conservative think tank, The Heritage Foundation, found that raising the minimum wage would put low-wage workers at risk because businesses would be hesitant to hire more of them.

But some states have already made headway towards raising their minimum wage levels. Missouri came one step closer Tuesday to getting an initiative on the state's November 2012 election ballot to raise the minimum wage, Fox 4 Kansas City reports. Colorado voters approved a 28 cent hike in the minimum wage Tuesday, that will take effect at the beginning of the year, according to hyper-local news site North Forty News. Eighteen states already have a minimum wage that is higher than the federal minimum wage, 24/7 Wall St. found.

Washington recently became the first state in the nation to boast a minimum wage above nine dollars per hour.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post misattributed a 2010 survey on the minimum wage. The survey is called The 2010 American Values Survey and was done by the Public Religion Research Institute.

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Filed by Jillian Berman  |