Raising the Minimum Wage for Working Men and Women in California and the Rest of America

Thumbs-Up for $15-An-Hour Minimum Wage in New S.F. Poll

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Raising San Francisco’s minimum wage to a nation-topping $15 an hour has broad support in a new poll obtained by The Chronicle – a strong sign that voters will have a chance to weigh in on the city’s widening wealth disparity gap in November.

One reason, according to the poll, is because skyrocketing housing costs are reshaping the city’s face: 45 percent of respondents in the new survey say friends or family have moved out of the city in the past two years because they could no longer afford to live there. Nearly a third said they were likely to leave in the next five years. Sixty-one percent of the LGBT respondents said family or friends have been priced out over the past two years.

The survey of 400 likely November voters found that 59 percent of respondents support raising the minimum wage from its current $10.74, which is adjusted with the regional rate of inflation. San Francisco already has the highest big-city starting wage in the country. SeaTac, a small city near Seattle’s airport, recently approved a $15 an hour floor.

The new poll found that 36 percent of the respondents opposed a jump to $15, and 5 percent were undecided. The survey, which was funded by several unions that support raising the minimum wage, has a margin of error of 4.9 percentage points.

Advocates and pollsters were thrilled – and somewhat stunned – at the level of support, especially considering that San Francisco’s electorate in off-year elections is older (62 percent are over 50 years old) and whiter (63 percent) than in presidential years, which analysts say makes it comparatively conservative, at least by San Francisco standards.

Plus, the low level of undecided voters indicates that most people have made up their minds about the issue.

• Category: California, Notable • Tags: Joe Garofoli