Poverty Attributions and Attitudes toward Government Spending
George, Laurel; Kempf, Leila N.; Phillips, Kristie
The U.S. has the greatest economic inequality of any industrialized nation, and does the least to reduce this inequality (Dreier 2007). This inequality may reflect attitudes about the causes of poverty that may diminish willingness to support policy designed to alleviate its effects. Prior research has examined differences in attitudes toward the poor and those receiving welfare and about poverty beliefs, but not whether a relationship exist between these beliefs and opinions on Political Science. In order to investigate this explanation, we analyze data from the 1992 American National Election Survey (N=674) for a possible link between whether people attribute poverty to laziness or to structural causes and their attitudes about increasing government spending on programs that target the problems of poverty, namely food stamps, welfare, and child care. We found significant relationships between poverty beliefs and favorable attitudes toward increasing spending on each of these programs.