New Polling Data Finds One-Quarter of Question 4 Supporters Didn’t Know It Would Eliminate Tip Credit
60 percent of voters say they wouldn’t oppose Maine legislature fixing tip credit portion of law
Publication Date: December 2016
Topics: Tipped Wage
Washington D.C. – Today the Employment Policies Institute (EPI) released new polling data about Maine voters’ knowledge of Election Day’s Minimum Wage ballot measure, Question 4. The poll, conducted with Google’s Consumer Survey tool of 500 Maine residents who voted on the ballot measure, found that one-quarter of “yes” voters did not understand that it also eliminated the tip credit, raising the base wage for tipped employees by 220 percent.
View the polling results here. Read EPI Research Director Michael Saltsman and Maine NFIB Executive Director David Clough’s Portland Press Herald op-ed today discussing the poll and its implications here.
Given the close outcome of the ballot question, this lack of knowledge matters. Of the roughly 417,000 “yes” voters, the survey suggests that over 104,000 of them were not fully aware of what they were voting on. If even half of these “yes” voters changed their vote, the outcome of Question 4 would have flipped.
The poll also found a widespread lack of knowledge about the tipped minimum wage itself. Over one-third of all voters were unaware that tipped employees are required by law to earn the same minimum wage as other employees between their tips and base pay.
Finally, the poll found that 60 percent of voters either support, or wouldn’t care, if the Maine legislature fixed the tip credit portion of the law while preserving the $12 minimum wage. Among those who were not aware that the referendum included a massive tipped wage hike, this figure rises to 71 percent.
“Given the sizable portion of Maine voters who didn’t know what they were voting on, and the substantial harm that a 220 percent hike in the tipped wage will cause, Maine legislators should work out a simple fix to this law,” said Michael Saltsman, research director at EPI, “Maine’s Legislature can preserve high-paying tipped jobs while still ensuring that every employee receives the new $12 minimum wage.”
The Employment Policies Institute is a nonprofit research organization dedicated to studying public policy issues surrounding employment growth. In particular, EPI focuses on issues that affect entry-level employment. EPI receives support from restaurants, foundations, and individuals.