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

Minimum Wage Campaign Gains White House, Small Biz Support

In the run-up to fall elections, the Obama Administration and wage advocates are presenting an increase in the federal minimum as a key tool to combat income inequality.

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FORTUNE — The push to increase the federal minimum wage is gathering steam as the White House puts the issue front and center in the run-up to the fall elections. And supporters are positioning a wage bump as the best way to combat income inequality.

Last week, backers released a national poll of small business owners that found that 57% support the Obama Administration’s proposal to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour and index it to rise annually with the cost of living. The proposal would raise the current federal minimum of $7.25 over two-and-a-half years to $10.10. The last increase went into effect in 2009, although a number of states have set their own wage floors.

The poll, commissioned by the Small Business Majority, an advocacy group for small businesses, found that a majority of small business owners believe that a hike in the minimum wage would encourage consumer spending and generate greater economic growth.

“Small businesses see firsthand how low wages at corporate chains like McDonald’s (MCD) or Wal-Mart (WMT) drain local communities of the spending power needed to sustain consumer demand,” said Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project, on a conference call announcing the poll results.

The poll gathered responses from 500 owners of small businesses with fewer than 100 employees. Forty-seven percent of the business owners identified as Republicans, 35% as Democrats, and the rest as independent or other.

• Category: National • Tags: Elizabeth G. Olson