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Florida Wants Minimum Wage Increase--But Divided on How Much

June 20, 2019 - 11:00am

A new poll shows strong support across Florida to raise the minimum wage in the Sunshine State. 

Quinnipiac University Polling Logo released a poll on Thursday showing three-quarters of Florida voters--76 percent--support raising the minimum wage while only 20 percent support keeping it at $8.46 an hour. Floridians of all political backgrounds, ages, genders, race and education levels support increasing the minimum wage. 

But, in a separate question, Floridians divide on how much the minimum wage should be raised as 9 percent say they want to increase it to more than $15 an hour, 36 percent want it at $15 an hour, 43 percent want less than it and 9 percent want no increase.

Peter Brown, the assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, weighed in on the minimum wage. 

"Maybe it's because so many Floridians remember their first minimum wage job. Whatever the reason, three-quarters of Sunshine State voters think the minimum wage in the state needs to be higher. Many voters, however, aren't ready to go as high as $15 per hour," Brown said. 

Mulling over the poll numbers, Brown said advocates of raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour--including attorney John Morgan--could have problems if they propose an amendment on it to the state constitution in 2020. To pass, a proposed amendment needs 60 percent support on the November ballot. 

"Anything is possible and sentiment could change, but the target of $15 per hour could jeopardize chances for raising the minimum wage if the question is on the ballot in November, 2020,” Brown said. 

Asked about the implementation of a recently added amendment to the state constitution giving felons their voting rights back, Floridians are divided with 45 percent saying the felons should pay all fines, fees and restitutions before being able to vote with 47 percent opposed to the idea. 

“Men support the measure 50 - 43 percent, with women opposed 49 - 41 percent. White voters support payment before voting 51 - 42 percent, while black voters are opposed 61 - 37 percent. Hispanic voters are divided as 40 percent support it and 51 percent oppose it,” Quinnipiac noted. “Support is 69 - 22 percent among Republicans, with Democrats opposed 70 - 24 percent and independent voters split as 43 percent support payment and 48 percent oppose it.” 

Brown compared those numbers to the strong support for raising the minimum wage. 

"There is much less agreement on the question of whether felons who have finished their prison sentences must pay fees, fines and restitution in order to vote," Brown said. 

Asked about whether adults should be able to legally possess small amounts of marijuana for recreational use, 65 percent of Florida say yes while 30 percent say no. 

Turning to guns, 59 percent of Florida voters back a ban on assault weapon sales while 36 percent oppose the idea. Asked if they support stricter gun laws, 58 percent say they do and 38 percent do not. A larger majority--72 percent--think the state needs to do more to address gun violence while 21 percent think Florida is doing enough on the matter while 2 percent think it is doing too much. 

Asked about "allowing trained teachers and school officials to carry guns on school grounds," 39 percent support the idea while 57 percent oppose it. A majority of parents of children in public schools--55 percent--oppose the idea while 40 percent support it. 

Asked what would do more to cut down on gun violence, 55 percent think stricter gun laws would while 34 percent think arming teachers would. Asked if Florida would be safer if more people carried guns, 55 percent say no and 35 percent of those surveyed say yes. 

The poll of 1,279 registered voters in Florida was taken from June 12 through June 17 and had a margin of error of +/- 3.3 percent.  

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