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45% Say Government Programs Increase Poverty in America

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.

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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.

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