Even though the all-out battle to “raise the wage” has fizzled, Americans still have workers’ rights on their minds—and polling data shows that they may be more sympathetic to higher wages and more lenient workplace conditions that we previously thought.

A new poll of adult Americans (not just “likely voters”) shows that more than half the country supports raising the minimum wage, as well as worker-friendly changes to laws governing paid sick leave and parental leave.

Via the AP:

Proposals to increase the federal minimum wage, as well as to require employers to give paid leave to their employees, find few objections among Americans as a whole.

Six in 10 Americans favor raising the minimum wage, including nearly half who are strongly in favor, the AP-GfK Poll shows, while only 2 in 10 are opposed. Six in 10 also favor requiring all employers to give paid time off to employees when they are sick, while two-thirds favor requiring all employers to give time off to employees after the birth of a child.

Among Republicans, about half support requiring employers to give paid sick leave and 55 percent support a requirement for paid parental leave.

But the minimum wage divides Republicans more closely, with only 4 in 10 in favor, 31 percent opposed and 27 percent not leaning either way. Half of moderate-to-liberal Republicans, but just a third of conservative Republicans, favor a minimum wage increase.

About 8 in 10 Democrats and a majority of independents favor each of these workplace proposals.

This tracks closely with additional poll results showing that an overwhelming majority of Americans believe that the government does too little to help the middle class (72%) and the poor (around 60%). (2/3 think the government does too much to help the wealthy—I’ll refrain from making a hamfisted joke about whose tax dollars do the most good toward entitlement programs.)

Obama’s free community college proposal, on the other hand, is more polarizing:

More than half of Americans — 56 percent — favor a plan put forward by Obama for the government to pay for community college for any student who maintains a certain grade point average and makes progress toward earning a degree, the AP-GfK poll shows. Three-quarters of Democrats, half of independents and a third of Republicans favor the proposal.

Nearly half of moderate and liberal Republicans, but only 3 in 10 conservative Republicans, are in favor of the community college proposal.

Nearly 6 in 10 Americans think the government doesn’t do enough to help students, the poll found.

This poll was designed to be “representative of the U.S. population,” which tells me that rolling back entitlements may be a lot more difficult than many conservatives believe. Even with a majority in Congress, Republicans are going to have to go above and beyond to convince the average American that more conservative policies will eventually lead to less need for entitlements.

Until then, we’re in for a long, hard fight.

See the numbers here.


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.