Eighty-four percent (84%) of voters nationwide see poverty as a serious problem in the United States today. That figure includes 37% who see it as a Very Serious problem.
However, a ScottRasmussen.com national survey found that just 34% believe government programs intended to reduce poverty to more good than harm. A similar number–38%–believe the government efforts do more harm than good while 28% are not sure.
Urban voters are much more upbeat about the impact of anti-poverty programs. Among those who live in cities, 48% believe such programs do more good than harm. Just 32% hold the opposite view.
However, in suburban and rural America, the general perceptions are reversed. By a 40% to 26% margin, suburban voters believe government efforts to reduce poverty do more harm than good. Rural voters, by a 42% to 30% margin, agree (see question wording and crosstab results).
The national survey of 1,000 Registered Voters was conducted November 7-8, 2018 by ScottRasmussen.com and HarrisX, a polling company specializing in online surveys (see Methodology and the demographic profile of our sample). It has a 3.1 percentage point Margin of Error with a 95% level of confidence.
Women are more skeptical than men about the impact of government programs intended to reduce poverty. By a 37% to 27% margin, female voter the programs do more harm than good. Men are evenly divided.
Hispanic voters, by a 52% to 28% margin, believe the programs do more harm than good. Black voters, by a 38% to 29% margin, hold the opposite view. Among white voters, 38% think the impact in more negative than positive while 34% see more positive results on balance.
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