President Obama has pledged to tackle inequality in the US during his State of the Union address, but has not pushed for a federal minimum wage rise.

Although Obama is expected to sign an executive order for government contract workers, which will boost their pay from the minimum federal rate of $7.25 (£4.37, €5.30) per hour to $10.10, he called on Congress to approve a raise.

But a poll from CNN, which questioned 1,278 employers, revealed small business owners in the US are divided over a potential country-wide increase in the minimum wage.

Almost half (49%) of employers, for instance, said they do not support a proposal to raise the federal minimum wage, but 44% said they support a wage hike and the remaining 7% were unsure.

However, a vast majority (95%) of respondents agreed that $7.25 is not a living wage and only 7% said they pay any of their workers that hourly rate or the minimum set by their state.

But the research also revealed more than 20% said they pay some employees between $7.25 and $10.10 an hour.

That means if a federal wage hike is passed, these small business owners would have to raise wages for employees in that range.

In addition, the study found nearly three in ten (26%) of small business owners said a hike to $10.10 would cause them to cut back on employees or their hours and almost a third (32%) said they would be forced to raise their prices.