Florida voters favor raising minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2026, poll shows

The November election is weeks away and Florida voters will have some decisions to make for the state, but a recent survey shows they may already have their minds made up.

Amendment 2 would raise Florida's minimum wage and, according to a recent Monmouth survey, Sunshine State voters appear to approve by a wide margin.

"Not making enough and having to balance out which bills are going to be paid, it puts a strain on you," McDonald's employee Gus Moody said.

If passed, Florida's Amendment 2 would raise the state's minimum wage from $8.56 to $10 per hour by September 2021. Over the following five years, it would increase by $1 an hour each year, until reaching $15 an hour by 2026.

According to Monmouth, nearly 70% of registered voters surveyed said they support raising the minimum wate to $15 by 2026. It only needs 60% to pass.

Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association (FLRA) president and CEO Carol Dover is not one of them.

“Prior to COVID, Amendment 2 was not a good idea, but post-COVID, it would be a catastrophic idea," Dover said.

She is part of the effort pushing back against the increase. According to the FRLA, before the pandemic, Florida’s hospitality industry employed about 1.5 million people, but post-pandemic nearly 1 million of those workers have been laid off or furloughed.

Dover believes if the amendment passes, more workers will suffer.

"It's going to force a lot of businesses who do find a way to stay open... they are going to go to automation," Dover said.

Other experts disagree.

"People who are used to living on low income, once they get that bump in their pay, they are going to go right back out there and spend it in their local businesses," said Alexis Davis, of the non-partisan think-tank Florida Policy Institute.

Davis helped author a recent study which found that, on average, the increase could mean about $300 extra per month for a minimum wage worker.

"If you're making a moderate to high wage, that might not sound like a lot to you, but for plenty of people in the state, that could mean the difference between making a car payment, keeping the lights on," Davis added.