Major partisan divide on food stamps

September 24, 2013, 1:52 PM GMT+0

Americans are split on what to do with food stamp spending, as Republicans want to cut food stamp spending and Democrats tend to want to increase it.

The Republican majority in the House of Representatives recently passed a new Farm Bill that would slash spending on food stamps. Republicans say that the program, which costs $80 billion per year, is representative of out-of-control spending while many Democrats have said that the program performs an important role in preventing poor Americans from going hungry. The decision to add these cuts to the Farm Bill has made it highly unlikely that a bill will be passed this year as the Senate and President are highly unlikely to agree to the changes.

The latest research from YouGov shows that the American public is as divided as Congress. 37% of Americans want spending on food stamps cut while 22% want it maintained at current levels. 30% want funding increased. This is largely driven by a significant partisan split. 47% of Democrats want to raise spending and 27% want to protect current levels. Among Republicans, however, 67% want to decrease funding (46% 'a lot') and only 14% want to keep spending the same. 38% of Independents want to cut food stamp spending but 21% and 29% want to protect or increase spending, respectively.

This partisan divide continues when Americans we asked whether single adults with jobs should be eligible for food stamps. 55% of Democrats think that they should be eligible while 22% think they shouldn't. Among Republicans 23% say that they should be eligible and 58% say that they shouldn't.

On the whole, most people - 52% - think that in general the people who receive foodstamps need them, though Republicans are a significant exception, among whom 45% think that food stamp recipients generally don't need them.

78% of Americans know someone who has received food stamps. On the whole this is relatively similar across parties, with 83% of Democrats and 70% of Republicans knowing food stamp claimants. Democrats (89%) are significantly more likely to say that the people they knew needed food stamps than Republicans (55%), though a majority of Republicans still believe that out of the people they know who claimed food stamps they were generally needed.

On the whole, people don't think that people who claim food stamps should be ashamed, with only 18% saying that you should feel 'ashamed' if you receive food stamps.

Full results can be found here.

Image: Getty.

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