LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - As Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer and the day to honor the American worker, a new Bluegrass Poll finds Kentucky voters want to put more money in workers’ pockets by raising the federal minimum wage.
A new Bluegrass Poll - conducted for WKYT-TV, the Lexington Herald-Leader, the Louisville Courier-Journal, and WHAS-TV - found 55 percent in favor of raising the minimum hourly pay to $10.10.
However, the new results show a six percent decrease in support from a February Bluegrass Poll which found 61 percent of voters believed in hiking the minimum wage.
A bill aimed at gradually raising the minimum wage cleared a Kentucky House of Representatives committee in January but failed to win over the entire state legislature. The measure was a top priority of House Speaker Greg Stumbo, who said the current minimum wage doesn't provide a living wage. The Prestonsburg Democrat says full-time employees working for the minimum wage make less than the average cost of a used car in the U.S.
The minimum wage in Kentucky hasn't been raised since 2009 when the federal government increased it to $7.25.
After learning they could legally do so, Louisville officials are debating raising the minimum wage in Kentucky’s largest city to $10.10 an hour.
“Minimum wage is clearly one of the dividing issues in Kentucky’s closely watched U.S. Senate race,” said WKYT political editor Bill Bryant.
Kentucky's U.S. Senate candidates disagree on how to fix this. Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes wants to raise the minimum wage. Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell says that would cut jobs.
The Kentucky Center for Economic Policy says raising the minimum wage would stimulate the economy by increasing consumer spending.
Fifty-five percent of those polled said they think state laws should be changed to allow people to work in businesses that have unions without them having to join or pay union dues.
“Republicans have made it very clear that they push right to bills in the upcoming legislative session and make it an issue in the next gubernatorial campaign,” said Bryant. “Most Democrats have indicated that they think it’s up to workers to decide if a facility is to be unionized.”
For the Bluegrass Poll, SurveyUSA interviewed 700 state of Kentucky adults between August 25 and 27. Of the adults, 647 were registered to vote. Of the registered voters, 569 were determined by SurveyUSA to be likely to vote in the November 4 general election. This research was conducted using blended sample, mixed mode. Respondents reachable on a home telephone (72 percent of likely voters) were interviewed on their home telephone in the recorded voice of a professional announcer. Respondents not reachable on a home telephone were shown a questionnaire on their smartphone, tablet or other electronic device.