Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Americans increasingly believe government anti-poverty programs cause more poverty in this country.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 49% of American Adults now think government programs increase the level of poverty in the United States, while just 20% say they decrease the problem. Nearly as many (19%) say the programs have no impact. Twelve percent (12%) are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
There’s a noticeable partisan difference of opinion on this question, however. While 68% of Republicans and 60% of adults not affiliated with either major political party think government programs increase the level of poverty in America, just 20% of Democrats agree.
Last fall, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that 14.3% of Americans fall below the federal poverty line, the highest number of people living in poverty since the estimates first became available in 1959. But a new study that takes a closer look at the Census Bureau numbers finds that many of those the federal government says are living in poverty have a decent place to live, adequate food on the table and two color TVs, among other amenities, and most Americans don't regard that as being poor.
In fact, 71% now believe that the bigger problem with the welfare system in the United States is that there are too many overqualified recipients getting benefits.
The national survey of 1,000 Adults was conducted on August 16-17, 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.Rasmussen subscribers can log in to read the rest of this article.
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To learn more about our methodology, click here.