Iowa Poll results overlook consequences of wage hike

The recent Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll finds that the majority of Iowans favor an increase in the state’s minimum wage. But you can’t gauge Iowans’ true feelings on the minimum wage without asking about the consequences. [Iowa Poll: Most want increase in state’s minimum wage, Feb. 29)

A recent national poll conducted by ORC International (CNN’s pollster) found that nearly six in 10 Americans supported a much higher minimum wage. However, when respondents were informed of the unintended consequences that accompany that higher mandated wage — such as job loss for the least skilled workers when small business owners scale back or close their doors — the results flip, with six in 10 opposing the wage hike.

These unintended consequences are not just hypothetical. Economists at the University of California-Irvine and the Federal Reserve Board reviewed two decades of research on the subject and found that the overwhelming majority of studies on minimum wage point to job losses for less-skilled employees.

The only thing that the Iowa Poll proves is that incomplete polling questions produce incomplete results.