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Poll shows support for minimum wage hike

South Dakotans support raising the minimum wage, according to poll results released Thursday.

And early next week, the South Dakota Democratic Party plans to turn in a petition to the secretary of state’s office that could place the issue on the ballot in the November 2014 general election.

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In a statewide survey, Nielson Brothers Polling, of Sioux Falls, asked South Dakota likely voters four questions regarding the minimum wage, and on each question a majority of responders indicated support for minimum wage hikes.

“The poll confirms what we’ve known from conversations with people across the state of all parties,” said Zach Crago, executive director of the South Dakota Democratic Party. “South Dakotans support raising the minimum wage, and it shows we value hard work. South Dakotans show up early, we stay late, we work hard, play by the rules and we never quit until the job gets done, but you just wouldn’t know that from our wages here.”

When asked if they favor raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.50 an hour, 63 percent of likely voters said yes, 26.4 percent said no and 10.6 percent were undecided. When asked if tipped employees should have their minimum wage raised from $2.13 to $4.25 an hour, 67.6 percent of respondents supported it, 17.1 percent were opposed and 15.3 percent were undecided.

When asked if the minimum wage should rise automatically with the cost of living, 58.9 percent said yes, 27.3 said no and 13.8 were undecided, and when asked how they would vote on the initiated measure from the South Dakota Democratic Party, 53.5 percent of respondents would vote for it, 22.8 percent would vote against it and 23.8 percent were unsure.

The South Dakota Democratic Party and its partners in the labor community started their petition drive on Labor Day in Sioux Falls and Rapid City. Petitions also circulated at the State Fair in Huron. The measure would raise South Dakota’s minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $8.50 per hour with annual cost of living increases

Crago said a petition with 15,855 signatures from registered voters needs to be filed by Monday.

“We’ll have well over the 15,855 signatures we need to give voters that chance come November of 2014,” said Crago, who declined to say exactly how many signatures are on the petition.