Emerson McClain owns a small Central Florida business, and he sympathizes with the average worker.

What You Need To Know

  • Poll: 70% of Floridians support incrementally raising minimum wage to $15 an hour

  • 40% agree that they feel better about financial situation than they did a year ago

  • Almost half 45% of Floridians approve of DeSantis’s handling of jobs, economy, poll finds

  • SCROLL TO BOTTOM: ▼ Full Spectrum News/Ipsos poll findings and methodology ▼

“People can’t afford to stay here right now, because they’re not getting paid enough,” he said. “I care about people enough to know that they deserve to be paid more.”

McClain said he agrees with prevailing Sunshine State sentiment that calls for more money in the pockets of the lowest-paid workers.

Seventy percent of Florida residents say they support incrementally raising the state’s minimum wage from $8.56 an hour to $15 an hour, an exclusive Spectrum News/Ipsos poll found.

The new poll also revealed that — surprising to no one — most Floridians have had a bad 2020. Only 40% of respondents agreed that they felt better about their personal financial situation than they did a year ago.

The findings speak to the plight of service workers — the low-paid people who carry Florida’s economy on their shoulders — and the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 16,000 people and cost hundreds of thousands their jobs.

“Right now, nobody’s doing well,” said McClain, who owns a video and photography business that employs one person at $17 an hour. “I mean, wealthy people are doing well.”

The poll broke respondents into three household-income categories, and a majority of only the highest-earning respondents agreed they felt better about their personal finances than a year ago. Sixty-percent of people whose households earn $100,000 or more agreed with that statement. For those who earn less than $50,000, 35% agreed.

The poll also revealed differences according to age, gender, and education.

Forty-four percent of people age 18-34 agreed with the statement on their personal finances. The number was 43% for people 35-54 but 36% for people 55 and over. Forty-six percent of men agreed, compared with 34% of women. Forty-seven percent of those who have a college degree agreed, compared with 37% who don’t have a college degree.

The poll also revealed differences from residents of the Orlando and Tampa designated marketing areas, whose tourism-heavy economies have been pummeled by layoffs. Forty-nine percent of Orlando DMA residents agreed that they felt better about their personal financial situation than they did a year ago. Thirty-eight percent from the Tampa DMA also agreed.

“It’ll be better once all this is cleared,” McClain said, referring to the pandemic.

In a related poll question, 45% of Floridians approved of Gov. Ron DeSantis’s handling of jobs and Florida’s economy. Forty-four percent disapproved. More whites (51%) approved than Blacks (37%), and far more Republicans (74%) approved than Democrats (27%). Thirty-four percent of independents also approved.

The poll’s statement about increasing the minimum wage gives an indication of Floridians’s sentiment toward the statewide Amendment 2 state ballot initiative, which seeks to gradually increase Florida’s minimum wage from $8.56 an hour to $15 an hour by 2026.

The statement drew strong agreement from Blacks (79%), Asians (74%), Hispanics (69%), and whites (68%). It drew particularly agreement from Democrats (85%). Republicans and independents agreed equally, at 57%.

Eight dollars and 56 cents?

“How can you live off that when just a one-bedroom (apartment) is just, what, $1,100 a month now?” McClain said. “That’s their whole paycheck almost.”

Read it: Exclusive Spectrum News/Ipsos Poll Findings and Methodology

Editor’s Note (10/23/20) – The net approve/disapprove values for the following subsets of Question 21 have been updated by Ipsos: Black Americans receive equal treatment to white Americans in this country, Racism is a significant problem in Florida and Lately, I do not feel safe in my community.