New Jersey voters overwhelming approved a ballot measure in Tuesday's off-year election to raise the state's minimum wage to $8.25 an hour on Jan. 1.
Similar results are expected in Washington, where votes are still being counted on a ballot measure to increase the minimum wage for workers around Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to $15 an hour. The latest results show the measure with 54 percent approval.
Washington already has the highest minimum wage in the U.S.: $9.19 an hour.
These two victories are part of the growing trend of minimum wage measures heading into next year's mid-term elections, according to advocates . Similar efforts are underway across the country, from the District of Columbia to South Dakota.
"2014 will be a big year for the minimum wage on state and local ballots," said Tsedeye Gebreselassie, a staff attorney at the National Employment Law Project, which supports hikes. "What happened in New Jersey and Washington are momentum-builders and good news for us."
Meanwhile, people on the other side are in a slight state of shock.
"I'm very surprised they passed," said Tim Nash, an economics professor at Northwood University and an opponent of raising the minimum wage.
"i think there's a general lack of economic understanding, and that if we wave a magic wand and raise wages, the economy will get better," he said.