Wednesday, March 19, 2014
President Obama ordered the Labor Department last week to revise federal rules to allow more workers to qualify for overtime pay. Voters have mixed feelings about how this change will impact the economy, but they are more pessimistic about its impact on businesses.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 37% of Likely U.S. Voters believe increasing the number of people eligible for overtime pay will help the economy. Nearly as many (34%) think this change will hurt the economy instead. Fourteen percent (14%) believe expanding overtime will have no economic impact, while just as many (15%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
But 41% believe increasing the number of people eligible for overtime pay will hurt businesses. Twenty-five percent (25%) believe the change will help businesses, while 21% say it will have no impact. Twelve percent (12%) are undecided.
Forty percent (40%) of working Americans now say they work more than 40 hours weekly, including nine percent (9%) who work more than 50 hours a week.
Fifty-five percent (55%) of voters believe decisions made by U.S. business leaders to help their own businesses grow will do more for the economy than decisions made by the government. Thirty-four percent (34%) say decisions made by the government will do more to help the economy. Twelve percent (12%) are not sure which is best. These findings have changed little over the past several years.
Only 33% believe more laws are needed to protect the rights of workers in the United States. Most (54%) believe there are already enough laws in place that protect workers’ rights. Fourteen percent (14%) are not sure.
The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on March 16-17, 2014 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.
Thirty-four percent (34%) of Americans believe raising the hourly minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 will help the economy. Forty-three percent (43%) disagree and say it will hurt the economy instead.
Most Democrats (58%) believe expanding overtime pay will help the economy, while most Republicans (52%) disagree and say it will hurt the economy. Those not affiliated with either major party are more evenly divided. Democrats (40%) are less confident the change will help businesses. Sixty-two percent (62%) of GOP voters and a plurality (45%) of unaffiliated voters say the change will hurt businesses.
Fifty-five percent (55%) of voters in the president's party think decisions made by government officials will do more to help the economy grow. Seventy-nine percent (79%) of Republicans and 55% of unaffiliateds believe the economy will be better helped by decisions made by business leaders to help their own businesses grow. Most Democrats think there's a need for more laws to protect workers' rights; most GOP and unaffiliated voters disagree.
Voters under 40 are just as skeptical as their elders of decisions made by government officials, but they are less likely to think expanding overtime pay will hurt the economy and American businesses.
Black voters are much more confident than whites and other minority voters that expanding overtime will help the U.S. economy and businesses.
Fifty-two percent (52%) of all voters do not think the economy is fair to those who are willing to work hard, although that's down from October’s high of 58%.
Fifty three percent (53%) consider economic growth to be more important than economic fairness. Thirty-eight percent (38%) rate economic fairness as the more important of the two.
Most voters continue to support an economic system that provides everyone a chance to succeed, and they generally believe it is fair and helpful for the economy to let those who are successful become very rich.
Most employed adults (65%) still consider themselves middle class, and 42% expect to be making more money a year from now.
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