The Hill

By Alexander Bolton
03/30/14 02:00 PM EDT

A new political advocacy group has teamed up with former Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) to argue that the economic inequality agenda of Senate Democrats is a loser with swing voters.

That may be why some centrist Democrats facing uphill campaign battles have kept their distance from the Democratic leadership’s agenda items.

The group, Each American Dream, which has a starter budget of $1 million, has commissioned a poll showing that 67 percent of swing voters believe expanding businesses and creating jobs is the best strategy for reducing economic inequality, not raising the minimum wage.

Fifty-nine percent of swing voters said reforming the welfare system would best reduce income inequality.

The survey of 1,200 voters nationwide was conducted earlier this year by Frank Luntz, a prominent GOP pollster, and has been shared with Republican and Democratic congressional offices.

“The idea is to get survey information that helps make the case and then help to educate policy makers about the benefits of wealth creation and success,” said Kyl, who is the honorary chairman of the effort.

While Senate Democratic Policy Chairman Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) has tried to rally Democrats around a populist economic agenda centered on raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, Kyl is quietly talking with centrist senators about protecting the interests of employers and high-income earners.

Kyl says Democrats, including Schumer, are more receptive to his arguments than they publicly acknowledge.

“Last time I checked, Chuck Schumer represented Wall Street and I don’t think that he would confess to the constituents on Wall Street that he has turned his back on them so that he can help raise the minimum wage of average workers,” Kyl said. “He understands as well as anyone the role that wealth creation plays in a healthy economy. It’s the essence of economic growth.”

Schumer joined Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and other Democratic leaders in rolling out their 2014 agenda, “A Fair Shot for Everyone.”

The agenda includes the minimum wage boost, the Paycheck Fairness Act, which promotes equal pay between men and women, a plan to improve college affordability, and a tax hike on the wealthy.

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