Bipartisan concern over California’s income inequality

The latest Field Poll–released last Wednesday–caught our attention here at inewsource because it measured popular opinion on an issue that’s very much a hot topic here in San Diego: raising the minimum wage.

The city council is considering putting a proposal to increase San Diego’s minimum wage on the November ballot. It would raise the city’s minimum wage from the current statewide minimum of $9 an hour to $13.09 per hour by 2017. Local business associations such as the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce have warned the increase would harm the local economy and cost jobs.

The issue of rising income inequality is one that has captured the nation’s attention as of late. A 2011 Congressional Budget Office report concluded that the income of the top one percent of American households increased by 275 percent between 1979 and 2007, compared with just 65 percent for the next 19 percent, less than 40 percent for the next 60 percent and 18 percent for the bottom 20 percent. California’s 2013 law raising the minimum to $9 per hour on July 1, 2014 and $10 per hour on Jan. 1, 2016 was meant to help those left behind.

Specifically, the Field poll asked 1,020 California adults their views on income inequality and the recently-enacted minimum wage increases.

Among the findings:

On income inequality

  • A majority of Californians (54 percent to 38 percent) say they are dissatisfied with the way income is divided in the state.
  • Majorities of both Democrats and Republicans are dissatisfied with the division and by similar margins (54 percent to 37 percent).
  • The most significant difference in opinion is between Californians born in the U.S. and those who immigrated here. Only 40 percent of Californians born in the U.S. report being satisfied with the way income is divided in the state as compared with 50 percent born elsewhere.

On the minimum wage

  • Californians are closely divided on whether the state’s recently-enacted minimum wage increases (including those that have yet to take effect) are adequate. Thirty-seven percent say the wage increase is adequate, while 48 percent say it should be increased further. Ten percent say it’s already gone too far.
  • The partisan divide in the state is clear. Most Democrats (57 percent) and independents (60 percent) believe the minimum wage should be increased beyond what the current law mandates while barely a quarter (26 percent) of Republicans believe that.
  • The issue also divides Californians by race and income. While majorities of African Americans (56 percent) and Latinos (62 percent) believe the minimum wage should be further increased, just 40 percent of white non-Hispanics and 43 percent of Asian Americans feel that way. Majorities of individuals in households with incomes of less than $60,000 want to see further increases while most individuals in households with incomes of $60,000 and above disagree.
  • We’ve built a couple data visualizations that illustrate some of the most interesting results from the poll. The visualizations allow you to filter by respondent group. Check them out below.

shadow-ornament

We'll let you know when big things happen.

About Joe Yerardi:

Joe Yerardi
Joe Yerardi is a freelance data journalist for inewsource, where he worked between 2013 and 2016 as an investigative reporter and data specialist. To contact him with questions, tips or corrections, email joe.yerardi@gmail.com.