In his 2013 State of the Union address, President Obama urged Congress to raise the federal minimum wage, which has wallowed at $7.25 since 2007. But Congress didn't budge, sidestepping the issue that has long been staunchly opposed by the Republican leadership.
It may have seemed surprising, then, that voters in four unabashedly conservative states -- Alaska, Nebraska, South Dakota and Arkansas -- decisively supported minimum wage hikes in Tuesday's general election. In fact, despite ongoing conservative opposition to the raising the federal minimum wage, recent initiatives in individual states, both blue and red, have had overwhelmingly success. As of Aug. 1, 2014, 23 states and Washington D.C. have minimum wages above the federal level, many of which have resulted from successful ballot measures over the last 15 years. And some cities have taken the effort even farther: voters in San Francisco overwhelmingly supported an incremental increase to $15 an hour by 2018 -- tying Seattle for highest in the nation -- while Oakland voters approved a bump from $9 to $12.25 by March 2015.