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44% Say It's Still Possible To Work Up From Poverty, 38% Disagree

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Americans are now less convinced than they have been at any time during the Obama presidency that it's still possible for anyone in this country to work their way out of being poor.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 44% of American Adults believe it is possible for anyone to work their way out of poverty. Thirty-eight percent (38%) disagree and say it's not possible. Eighteen percent (18%) are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

In early March 2009, just a few weeks after the president's inauguration, 56% said it was possible for anyone to work their way out of poverty, but a year later that number had fallen into the high 40s where it's largely remained ever since. This past March, 48% felt that way.

Americans remain narrowly divided over whether it's still possible for anyone who wants to work to find a job: 44% say that's true, but 42% say it's not. Fourteen percent (14%) are undecided. This is consistent with findings since September 2009 but down slightly from earlier that year.

 The government on Friday reported surprisingly little job creation in May and an increase in the unemployment rate. Just prior to that announcement, nearly one-out-of-three Americans (31%) predicted that the unemployment rate will be even higher a year from now, the most pessimistic attitude toward the jobs market since June of last year.

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The survey of 1,000 Adults was conducted on June 5-6, 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.


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