Just 19% of voters nationwide believe those living in chronic poverty are simply lazy. Instead, American voters appear to have a recognition that larger factors are involved. A ScottRasmussen.com survey found that 65% believe those in chronic poverty generally have little education. Sixty-two percent (62%) believe they lack the skills and personal connections needed to find a good job.
Eighty-three percent (83%) of voters believe most living in chronic poverty need a mentor who can help them establish habits needed to find and keep a good job. When new jobs are created in a community, 77% believe those living in chronic poverty often get left out because they lack the needed skills. And, 73% recognize that people living in chronic poverty typically live in communities with large numbers of people living in poverty.
Fifty-three percent (53%) believe that people living in chronic poverty are more likely to be found in inner cities rather than rural areas. Forty-seven percent (47%) disagree. That confusion is likely caused by grossly inadequate and misleading poverty statistics provided by the federal government.
In my latest book, I note that official statistics say “a family of four in rural Mississippi earning $24,000 a year would be defined as living in poverty. But a family of four living in New York City that earns $25,000 a year would not. In reality, of course, $24,000 in Mississippi goes a lot farther than $25,000 in Manhattan…. Despite what the official figures show, the urban New York family is far more likely to be in poverty than the rural Mississippi family.”
This distortion created by the official data has significant real world impacts. “The government figures consistently overestimate the reality of poverty in rural southern states and underestimate poverty in urban areas throughout the rest of the nation.” This and other flaws in the data “have hidden the reality of poverty in America.”
Other polling data shows that there is little resemblance between what the government defines as poverty and what most Americans define as poverty.
Data released earlier showed that 38% of voters have close friends or family members who struggle to make ends meet.
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The national survey of 1,000 Registered Voters was conducted February 8-9, 2019 by ScottRasmussen.com and HarrisX, a polling company specializing in online surveys (see Methodology). It has a 3.1 percentage point Margin of Error with a 95% level of confidence.
Neither Scott Rasmussen nor ScottRasmussen.com has any relationship with Rasmussen Reports® (see About Us).