71% Say Too Many People Get Welfare Who Shouldn’t

Posted: 08/25/2011 by Lynn Dartez in The Welfair State
Rasmussen Reports

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Americans overwhelmingly believe that the bigger problem with the welfare system in the United States is that there are too many overqualified recipients rather than not enough. Most also think legal immigrants should have to wait at least three years before being eligible for welfare benefits.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 71% of American Adults say the bigger problem with welfare programs in the United States is that too many people get welfare who should not be getting it. Just 18% say the bigger issue is that too many people who should receive welfare do not get it, while another 11% are not sure.  (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Republicans (91%) and adults not affiliated with either political party (70%) believe much more strongly than Democrats (51%) that the bigger problem with welfare is that too many ineligible people are on it.

Fifty-nine percent (59%) of all Americans think immigrants who follow the law and enter the United States legally should have to wait three years or more before collecting welfare benefits, including 31% who believe they should wait more than five years. Seventeen percent (17%) think three years is enough, while 11% prefer a five-year waiting period.

Fourteen percent (14%) think one year is an appropriate waiting period for legal immigrants to be eligible for welfare, but 16% believe there should be no wait at all. Eleven percent (11%) are undecided.

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The national survey of 1,000 Adults was conducted on August 16-17, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

The majority of adults across all demographic categories think the bigger problem with the U.S. welfare system is that too many ineligible people are receiving benefits.

When it comes to welfare for immigrants new to this country, men favor a longer waiting period than women do. Younger voters prefer less delay of welfare benefits than their elders do.

Twenty-five percent (25%) of Democrats think there should be no waiting period, compared to seven percent (7%) of Republicans and 17% of unaffiliated adults. Forty percent (40%) of Republicans, on the other hand, feel immigrants should have to wait more than five years before being eligible for welfare, a view shared by 26% of Democrats and 27% of unaffiliateds.

At a time when most Americans believe there is more poverty in the United States, many question the effectiveness of government anti-poverty programs and believe they cause more of the problem they’re supposed to lessen.

A recent survey based on several government studies finds that many of those the federal government says are living in poverty have a decent place to live, adequate food on the table and two color TVs, among other amenities, and most Americans don’t regard that as being poor.

Most Americans (55%) 55% believe the government should require those who receive food stamps to work.

Sixty-one percent (61%) of Americans say if immigration laws were enforced, there would be less poverty in America.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

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Rasmussen Reports is an electronic media company specializing in the collection, publication and distribution of public opinion polling information.  We poll on a variety of topics in the fields of politics, business and lifestyle, updating our site’s content on a news cycle throughout the day, everyday.

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Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports, has been an independent pollster for more than a decade. To learn more about our methodology, click here.

  1. Make that 71% plus 1. Too many undeserving people are on welfare. Each case should be investigated more thoroughly and stringent background checks completed. Why should legal or illegal immigrants get welfare at all? They made the decision to immigrate and they were not promised that the taxpayers would take care of them.

  2. Lynn Dartez says:

    I say you don’t pay into it you don’t get it! Too many illegal’s and those who never worked a day in there lives get welfare while the ones that really need it can’t get.

    Lynn Dartez

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