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    Voters Favor Minimum Wage Increases

    Six states have initiatives to raise the minimum wage; poll finds political candidates who support raising the minimum wage get voter's choice.

    WASHINGTON -- The National Council for Research on Women (NCRW) found that registered voters are more likely to vote for those congressional candidates that favor a higher minimum wage and paid sick leave in its poll of 2,000 registered voters nationwide.

    To date, 23 states and the District of Columbia passed legislation that increased state-based minimum wages over the $5.15 federal standard that was last approved in 1997. Six states -- Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, Montana, Nevada and Ohio -- currently have ballot initiatives to raise the minimum wage, which polls estimate is favored by more than 60 percent of voters, NCRW stated in a release.

    The poll found that 72 percent of women and 63 percent of men would be more likely to vote for a Congressional candidate that supports a minimum wage increase from $5.15 to $7.25. Also, 56 percent of Republican women and 61 percent of married mothers support a candidate that favors an hourly increase.

    Thirty-nine percent of all low-wage workers -- those defined as having an income of less than $39,000, or double the federal poverty rate -- have no sick leave, the council reported. Low wage workers make up 25 percent of the U.S. workforce. In addition, 61 percent of women and 46 percent of men are more likely to support a candidate that favors paid sick leave for all workers.

    "Americans working hard and struggling to support themselves and their families deserve a fairer minimum wage and should not have to choose between getting sick and losing their job," said NCRW president Linda Basch.

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