Most Americans think there are too many people on welfare who should not be getting it and believe overwhelmingly that those who do receive welfare benefits should be required to work.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 83 percent of American adults favor a work requirement as a condition for receiving welfare aid. Just 7 percent oppose such a requirement, while 10 percent are undecided.
Support for a work requirement is slightly higher among those who personally know someone who is receiving welfare benefits.
Sixty-five percent of Americans think the bigger problem with welfare programs is that too many people get welfare who should not be getting it. That’s down slightly from August. Still, only 24 percent feel the bigger problem is that there are too many people who should receive welfare who are not getting it. Eleven percent are unsure.
Fifty-five percent of adults say they personally know someone currently receiving welfare benefits. Thirty-six percent say they know someone who is receiving welfare benefits who could be working instead.
Among those who know someone on welfare, 69 percent think America’s bigger problem is that too many people on welfare should not be receiving it. Among those who know someone on welfare who could be working instead, the number who believes that to be true jumps to 86 percent.
The survey of 1,000 adults was conducted on July 16-17, 2012 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is 3 percent.
The welfare work requirement was signed into law in 1996 by President Bill Clinton following passage by the Republican-controlled Congress. The Obama administration now is allowing waivers of that law, prompting many Republicans and conservatives to complain that the work requirement has been gutted.
Seventy-seven percent of Americans have been following news reports about federal welfare programs, with 39 percent who are following "very closely."
Sizable majorities across virtually all demographic categories favor a work requirement for welfare recipients.
But there’s a clear partisan difference of opinion when it come to what’s the bigger problem with welfare programs in this country.
Eighty-eight percent of Republicans and 60 percent of those unaffiliated with either major political party think the bigger problem is too many people getting welfare who should not be receiving it.
Just 46 percent of Democrats agree, while nearly as many — 41 percent — believe the bigger problem is those who are eligible for welfare are not getting it.
Florida and Missouri last year passed measures requiring some form of drug testing during the welfare application process. Fifty-three percent of likely voters believe all welfare applicants should be tested for illegal drug use before receiving benefits.
Sixty-two percent of voters think state governments should offer those who have lost their jobs, and been unsuccessfully looking for work, minimum-wage jobs instead of welfare payments.