Taubman Center for Public Policy Survey

 

Providence Residents Favor Living Wage and Minimum Wage Increase

 

A citywide survey of 491 Providence residents conducted September 29-30, 2007 also finds support for public assistance work requirements.†††


PROVIDENCE, R.I. ó Seventy percent of Providence residents favor a ďliving wageĒ in which companies receiving contracts from the city pay their workers at least $12.30 an hour plus $1.25 an hour for health care benefits, according to a new citywide survey conducted by researchers at Brown University.

The survey was conducted September 29-30, 2007, at Brown University by Darrell M. West, director of the Taubman Center for Public Policy and the John Hazen White Sr. Public Opinion Laboratory, and Marion Orr, the Frederick Lippitt Chair of Public Policy, Political Science, and Urban Studies. It is based on a citywide random sample of 491 Providence residents. Overall, the poll had a margin of error of about plus or minus 5 percentage points.

This survey was undertaken in conjunction with the 8th annual Thomas J. Anton/Frederick Lippitt Urban Affairs conference on ďthe Living WageĒ.Scheduled for 4 p.m. Tuesday, October 16 at Leung Gallery in Faunce House on the Campus Green, this yearís conference examines the economic and political aspects of the living wage and other anti-poverty initiatives with a panel of national experts.Among the speakers are Paul Sonn of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University, James Sherk of the Heritage Foundation, and Oren Levin-Waldman of the Metropolitan College of New York.

 

Ninety percent believe the national minimum wage should be increased from $5.15 to $7.25 an hour. Sixty-nine percent think the government should increase cash assistance for people who are poor.Eighty-three percent believe the government should expand subsidized daycare for people who are poor.Eighty-two percent think able-bodied recipients on public assistance should be required to work as a condition of the aid.Thirty-four percent believe there should be a lifetime limit of five years on federal benefits for poor people.

 

To see how city residents feel about the poor, we asked whether they believe that most people who receive public assistance are genuinely in need of help or are they taking advantage of the system.Fifty-two percent say the poor genuinely need help, while 28 percent think the poor are taking advantage of system and 20 percent are unsure.Fifty-nine percent think that most poor people could not get along without public assistance if they tried.Fifteen percent think that most poor people are lazy, while 77 percent do not.Seventy-four percent believe that poverty is a big problem, 19 percent say they think it is somewhat of a problem, and 3 percent think it is not much of a problem.

 

Further information on the survey can be found online at www.InsidePolitics.org.For more information, contact Darrell M. West at (401) 863-1163.

Survey Questions and Responses

 

Do you believe the national minimum wage should be increased from $5.15 to $7.25 an hour?90% yes, 6% no, 4% donít know or no answer

 

Do you support a so-called ďliving wageĒ in which companies receiving contracts from the city pay their workers at least $12.30 an hour plus $1.25 an hour for health care benefits? 70% support, 15% oppose, 15% donít know or no answer

 

Do you think the government should increase cash assistance for people who are poor?69% yes, 18% no, 13% donít know or no answer

 

Do you believe the government should expand subsidized daycare for people who are poor?83% yes, 11% no, 6% donít know or no answer

 

Do you think able-bodied recipients on public assistance should be required to work as a condition of the aid? 82% yes, 9% no, 9% donít know or no answer

 

Do you believe there should be a lifetime limit of five years on federal benefits for poor people? 34% yes, 50% no, 16% donít know or no answer

 

In your view, are most people who receive public assistance genuinely in need of help or are they taking advantage of the system?52% genuinely need help, 28% taking advantage of system, 20% donít know or no answer

 

Do you think that most poor people could get along without public assistance if they tried? 28% yes, 59% no, 13% donít know or no answer

 

Do you think that most poor people are lazy? 15% yes, 77% no, 8% donít know or no answer

 

How big a problem is poverty in our society today:†† 74% a big problem, 19% somewhat of a problem, 3% not much of a problem, 4% donít know or no answer

 

Would you say that you and your family living there are:31% better off, 38% the same, 28% worse off financially than you were a year ago, 3% don't know or no answer

 

How often do you attend religious services:24% never, 25% a few times a year, 13% once or twice a month, 34% once a week, 4% donít know or no answer

 

How many civic associations or community organizations do you belong to? 46% zero, 16% one, 13% two, 10% three, 4% four, 3% five, 5% six or more, 3% donít know or no answer

 

How actively involved are you in the life of your community? 19% very involved, 40% somewhat involved, 38% not very involved,3% donít know or no answer