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83% of Americans agree COVID-10 relief and minimum wage should be separate: poll

According to a new Harris poll, Americans support a federal minimum wage, but they also believe it is failing American workers right now. Additionally, most agree that increasing the federal minimum wage should be considered separately from COVID-19 relief and should, at the very least, be determined based on the average cost of living in the U.S. Yahoo Finance’s chief political correspondent Jessica Smith breaks down the poll’s findings.

Video Transcript

JULIE HYMAN: Well, there is a renewed debate in Washington over the federal minimum wage. And that's because it's a part of the Biden administration's proposal on the aid package for coronavirus. There are new findings, though, on what Americans think Congress should do about minimum wage. And our Jessica Smith is here with us to tell us about them. So do Americans think that the minimum wage needs to go up?

JESSICA SMITH: They do. We wanted to find the answer to that question because lawmakers are debating this issue right now. And we, along with the Harris Poll, found that most Americans do support raising the minimum wage. 83% say that $7.25 an hour is not enough for a person to live on.

High earners and college-educated people may be more disconnected from the realities of minimum wage, according to this new poll. People in households making more than $100,000 are more than twice as likely to think that $7.25 an hour was enough to get by. The same thing with college-educated people versus people with little to no college education.

Now, almost 60% of Americans think that raising the minimum wage would actually help the economy. That's an argument that Democrats are making as they try to include the measure in the next relief bill. And we also wanted to see how much of an increase people would support. More than 60% support a minimum wage between $10 and $15 an hour, 15 being the median answer. 7% say they'd support a minimum wage up to $20 an hour, though that's not something Congress is actually thinking about. And 3% of people say they think the minimum wage should actually be even lower.

Now before we got these survey results, I did speak with Congressman Bobby Scott. He is leading the effort to raise the minimum wage to $15. He says he is optimistic, and it's clear the public supports this plan. Let's watch.

BOBBY SCOTT: And only resistance, only pushback appears to be Republicans in Congress. I think many of them in the Senate that have been hiding behind Leader McConnell, killing it by just not bringing it up, will now have an opportunity to vote on it, when Leader Schumer brings it up for a vote.

JESSICA SMITH: This is clearly going to be a tough sell for Republicans and even for moderate Democrats. Senator Joe Manchin, he said yesterday that he would not support raising the minimum wage to $15. He said something like $11 would be more appropriate. Not only do Republicans think $15 an hour is just too high. They also say it's unrelated to COVID relief, so it should be considered separately. And this poll found that 83% of Americans think that Congress should consider this separately from any stimulus package. Myles and Julie.

JULIE HYMAN: Thank you, Jess. We'll see if Congress listens. Really interesting results there, and I'm glad you asked those various questions about it being separate and what the level should be. Thank you, Jess. Appreciate it.