The results show North Carolinians back living wage standards, minimum wages and paid sick leave across all political affiliations
[Editor’s note: As the 2014 session of the North Carolina General Assembly lists slowly and painfully toward its conclusion, many important subjects remain unaddressed or still in dispute. Unfortunately, one area in which legislative leaders remain united is in their opposition to laws that would improve the pay and working conditions of average North Carolina workers. A new poll reveals, however, that this stubborn opposition is dramatically at odds with the views of most North Carolinians.]
North Carolinians of all political stripes support raising the minimum wage, guaranteeing access to paid sick days and establishing local living wage ordinances, a new poll released yesterday finds.
The poll, conducted by Public Policy Polling, revealed that 62 percent of North Carolina voters – nearly two out every three – support a state law guaranteeing access to paid sick days. Even more North Carolinians, 63 percent, support city and county laws establishing living wage standards.
Perhaps most significant: the poll respondents were largely center-right. Even though most poll respondents identified as conservative and the majority voted for Romney, only 29 percent supported “relying on the private market to set wages without public intervention.” By contrast, twice that number – 58 percent of voters – support raising North Carolina’s minimum wage above the current $7.25 per hour standard. And a majority of “somewhat conservative” respondents (51 percent) plus 42 percent of “very conservative” respondents support local living wages as a way to build an economy that works for all.
Most respondents (43 percent) identified themselves as either “very conservative” (19 percent) or “somewhat conservative,” compared to 26 percent identifying as either “very liberal” or “somewhat liberal.” 32 percent of those polled identified as moderates.
“These results show strong support for worker-friendly policies in North Carolina,” said Carol Brooke of the Workers’ Rights Project at the NC Justice Center. “Paid sick days and living wages build an economy that works for everyone, and the vast majority of North Carolinians recognize that.”
Additionally, the majority of those surveyed judge the state’s job creation track record based on the quality of the jobs created rather than the quantity. 50 percent of those polled were more concerned “that jobs pay a living wage” rather than “that there are enough jobs” (37 percent).
In the face of still-modest job growth and a boom in low-wage work post-recession, such a finding suggests policymakers should focus on policies that create good, quality jobs in order to build an economy that works for all.
“Since 2009, 8 out of every 10 jobs created pays below a wage that would allow a family to meet the growing costs for basic needs,” said Alexandra Sirota, director of the NC Justice Center’s Budget & Tax Center. “It is clear that North Carolinians seek a policy direction that will not only ensure everyone who wants to work can but that those who do work hard don’t live in poverty.”
Complete poll results can be viewed at this link.
Jeff Shaw is the Director of Communications at the North Carolina Justice Center.