Why Michele Bachmann may want to rethink her attack on Minimum Wage

Notwithstanding the hypocrisy from a states’ rights standpoint, Bachmann is potentially undermining her support in some key 2012 battleground states. And this goes for the other potential GOP hopefuls as well who are attacking the wildly successful efforts to raise the minimum wage. Beginning with the passage of Prop. 210 in California in 1996, citizens in nine states have approved increasing the minimum wage. These are not just “Blue” states that Republican candidates can dismiss out of hand and not worry about trying to win in  2012. Voters in battleground states of Colorado, Florida, and Ohio, as well as “Red” states Arizona, Missouri, and Montana have approved the measures, some by wide margins. Here they are, with the vote totals:

California, Prop. 210 (1996), 61% approval

Washington, Initiative 688 (1998), 66% approval

Florida, Amendment 5 (2004), 71% approval

Arizona, Prop. 202 (2006), 65% approval

Colorado, Amendment 42, 53% approval

Missouri, Prop. B (2006), 76% approval

Montana, I-151 (2006), 73% approval

Nevada, Question 6 (2004 & 2006), 68% & 69% approval

Ohio, Measure 2 (2006), 57% approval


It’s important to note that the six statewide minimum wage measures on the 2006 ballot also had a major effect on the popular salience of the issue and engendered electoral support for Democratic candidates. My co-authored article in Public Opinion Quarterly on the topic is available here:

Daniel A. Smith and Caroline J. Tolbert. 2010. “Direct Democracy, Public Opinion, and Candidate Choice,” Public Opinion Quarterly 74: 85-108.