Forty-five percent of Americans say anti-poverty programs increase poverty

Steven Nelson Associate Editor
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Pessimism about the impact of government anti-poverty programs is widespread, according to a new poll released by Rasmussen.

45 percent of poll respondents said that anti-poverty programs actually increase poverty. In a September version of the poll, 43 percent gave the same response.

The poll found that 18 percent believe that anti-poverty programs reduce poverty, and 24 percent believe that they have no effect.

In a separate inquiry, respondents were asked to rate the effectiveness of anti-poverty programs. 71 percent found them ineffective, 24 somewhat effective, and just 3 percent very effective.

Rasmussen found that 69 percent believe that poverty has increased over the last ten years. 80 percent indicated that they knew someone who was unemployed and looking for work.

Despite profound skepticism of anti-poverty programs, less than half of respondents said they believed people could work their way out of poverty. Rasmussen notes that polling found 48 percent believe it is possible to work out of poverty, down from the 51 to 56 percent rates of 2009.

The apparent skepticism of current endeavors is not reflected in respondents’ beliefs on current spending levels. 38 percent said the government is spending too much on the programs, 34 percent said too little.