MADISON, NJ - Although the legislature and the governor have been divided over the issue of raising the minimum wage, a majority of likely voters in the Garden State intend to vote yes on the issue when it is before them in the voting booth on Tuesday. The most recent statewide survey of likely voters in New Jersey from Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind finds that a third (32%) are following the issue closely, and 59 percent say they intend to vote yes on the ballot question that amends the state constitution in order to ensure a minimum wage of $8.25 per hour.
“The minimum wage ballot question has the potential to affect the lives of thousands of Garden State voters. With New Jersey not immune from the national trend of job growth in areas that pay the minimum wage, any increase is going to be felt by both employees and employers,” said Krista Jenkins, director of PublicMind and professor of political science at Fairleigh Dickinson University. “Voters are clearly ready to say yes to mandating a wage increase that will take the minimum from $7.25 to $8.25, and require yearly increases indexed to inflation.”
The issue divides support for the gubernatorial candidates. State Senator Barbara Buono, the Democratic challenger to GOP incumbent Chris Christie, has highlighted her support for the issue on the campaign trail. Her longstanding support for the wage increase is clearly resonating with voters across the Garden State, as 91 percent of those who intend to vote yes say they will vote for Buono. The picture is less clear cut for Christie. About 40 percent of those who want the wage increase say they’re voting for Christie, with 49 percent of Christie supporters opposed to the increase.
“This is one issue that voters seem to associate with one candidate more than the other,” said Jenkins. “Buono’s work in communicating to voters that she is the candidate who champions the increase has clearly paid off.”
Democrats (87%) are more supportive of the increase than are independents (49%) and Republicans (31%). Other groups to favor the wage hike include women and non-whites, two groups who are the most likely to either experience or have experienced low wage employment. Women (66%) more than men (53%) intend to support the wage increase, and non-whites (83%) more than whites (53%) say they will support the constitutional amendment.
The Fairleigh Dickinson University poll of 570 likely voters in New Jersey was conducted by telephone with both landline and cell phones from October 24 through October 30, 2013, and has a margin of error of +/-3.7 percentage points.