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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/dsp01n296wz32g
Title: NEW ATTITUDES, OR NEW RHETORIC? A SURVEY ON AMERICAN ANTI-WELFARE PUBLIC OPINION IN THE 21ST CENTURY
Authors: Mulligan, Jessica Scarlett
Advisors: Gilens, Martin
Department: Politics
Class Year: 2014
Abstract: The goal of my thesis was to provide a clearer explanation of the association between certain political attitudes and public opposition to antipoverty policies. My hypothesis was that the perceptions of welfare recipients as “undeserving” of government aid remains the most important factor in predicting an individual’s support for social spending, despite the rhetorical trend of the last decade that has increasingly used the ideal of “limited government” to justify cuts to social spending programs. In order to test this hypothesis, I administered a national survey that included political attitude questions as well as “tradeoffs,” in which respondents were asked to choose between two TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) spending programs that would cost the same amount but prioritize either minimizing government administrative costs, or excluding the undeserving from the pool of beneficiaries. I also included a tradeoff series that asked parallel questions, but with regard to a farm subsidy program, and hypothesized that respondents would have less negative attitudes toward these recipients. I found that respondents who more strongly prioritized excluding the undeserving in the TANF tradeoffs were more likely to oppose increased spending on TANF, but there was no correlation between respondents who preferred to exclude the undeserving on the farm subsidies tradeoffs and their likelihood of opposing increased spending on that program. I concluded that Americans’ spending preferences on social programs can be predicted by their attitudes toward recipients, and a desire to limit wasteful government expenditures does not correlate with the desire to reduce spending on welfare programs.
Extent: 130 pages
URI: http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/dsp01n296wz32g
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Politics, 1927-2016

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