Dems hope likely Senate defeat of minimum wage boost will win over female, younger voters

A chart prepared by Senate Democrats rests on an easel on the Senate steps on April 2, 2014, at the Capitol in Washington before a news conference urging approval for raising the minimum wage.

A chart prepared by Senate Democrats rests on an easel on the Senate steps on April 2, 2014, at the Capitol in Washington before a news conference urging approval for raising the minimum wage.

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Women account for more than 6 in 10 people earning the current minimum wage or less. And in midterm elections since the 1970s, exit polls of voters show women have tilted toward Democratic congressional candidates by an average of 7 percentage points.

But in a cautionary note to Democrats, that's not set in concrete: Women split about evenly in 2010, when Republicans took over the House.

Nearly half of people earning minimum wage or less are under age 25, even though they represent just a fifth of people working for hourly pay.

Younger voters have leaned toward Democrats by an average 7 percentage points since the 1970s. The margin has been even greater since 2004, when their preference for Democrats has been by double-digit percentage points.

Young people, however, aren't stalwart voters in midterm elections. They have averaged just 6 percent of voters in those elections, compared to the 10 percent of the overall population that 18- to 24-year-olds represent.

The Democratic bill would raise the federal minimum to $8.20 six months after enactment, $9.15 after an additional year and $10.10 a year after that. The minimum would then automatically increase annually with inflation.

It would also gradually boost the $2.13 minimum for tipped workers like waiters to 70 percent of the full minimum wage.

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Associated Press Director of Polling Jennifer Agiesta and AP News Survey Specialist Dennis Junius contributed to this report.

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