If it's in the News, it's in our Polls. Public opinion polling since 2003.


45% Say Government Programs Increase Poverty in America

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

At a time when most Americans believe there is more poverty in the United States, many question the effectiveness of government anti-poverty programs and believe they cause more of the problem they're supposed to lessen.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 45% of American Adults think current government anti-poverty programs actually increase poverty in America. Only 18% say these programs decrease poverty, while 24% say they have no impact. Another 14% are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Those figures are virtually unchanged from last September when the U.S. Census Bureau released findings showing increased poverty in America. 

Only 24% of Americans believe government programs designed to help get people out of poverty are at least somewhat effective, and that's down nine points from 33% in September. Seventy-one percent (71%) say these programs are not effective. Those figures include just three percent (3%) who say the programs are Very Effective in fighting poverty and 23% who say they are Not At All effective.

Perhaps heightening the skepticism is the finding that 69% of adults now believe there are more people living in poverty today than 10 years ago.

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls).  Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

The survey of 1,000 Adults was conducted on April 2-3, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.


Become a member and get full access to all articles and polls starting at $3.95/month.

Rasmussen Reports is a media company specializing in the collection, publication and distribution of public opinion information.

We conduct public opinion polls on a variety of topics to inform our audience on events in the news and other topics of interest. To ensure editorial control and independence, we pay for the polls ourselves and generate revenue through the sale of subscriptions, sponsorships, and advertising. Nightly polling on politics, business and lifestyle topics provides the content to update the Rasmussen Reports web site many times each day. If it's in the news, it's in our polls. Additionally, the data drives a daily update newsletter and various media outlets across the country.

Some information, including the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll and commentaries are available for free to the general public. Subscriptions are available for $3.95 a month or 34.95 a year that provide subscribers with exclusive access to more than 20 stories per week on upcoming elections, consumer confidence, and issues that affect us all. For those who are really into the numbers, Platinum Members can review demographic crosstabs and a full history of our data.

To learn more about our methodology, click here.