The Power of the Wage Issue

Bill Scher

CQPolitics.com today highlights new research from the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center, finding that minimum wage initiatives in five states significantly boosted voter turnout:

Voter motivation and reported interest in the election was disproportionately high among Democratic base voters, African-Americans, unmarried voters and women — especially where minimum wage initiatives were in play…

…[For example,] Democrats in Missouri were twice as likely to vote for Senate challenger Claire McCaskill, who upset Republican incumbent Jim Talent, because of an initiative to increase the state’s minimum wage that won easy approval in November with 76 percent of the vote.

According to Gail Stoltz, a campaign strategist on the issue during Missouri’s 2006 election, the minimum wage measure “was particularly motivating for those who are truly economically stressed.”

The power of the wage issue is something for Congress to consider, as Senate conservatives continue threatening to block a wage hike.

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