2014 Poverty Polling Pulling Purple
Feb 05, 2014
This piece originally appeared on Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity: The Source for News, Ideas, and Action.
Since the start of 2014, new polling suggests that when it comes to some fundamental questions about reducing poverty, many Republicans and Democrats have remarkably similar views.
Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity not only aggregates poverty polls but highlights relevant individual questions about the subject embedded in other polls. If you haven’t visited Spotlight’s “Polling Place” take a quick peek now. It’s one of our biggest draws—so join the crowd!
This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the War on Poverty, which President Lyndon Johnson launched in his January 8, 1964 State of the Union address. Since then in the annual SOTU, “Presidents of both parties have shown a rare, bipartisan resolve to avoid the subject,” noted Jeff Shesol, former speechwriter for President Clinton, in a recent New Yorker piece entitled “The ‘P’ Word.” While red and blue presidents may be skittish about the politics of poverty, the majority of everyday people – from both parties – are already signaling some shared views worth noting. The latest polls show that Americans are in agreement in the following key areas:
- The government should take action to reduce poverty, according to nearly two-thirds of Republicans (64 percent) and more than 9 out of 10 Democrats (94 percent).The USA Today/Pew Research Center poll specifically asked “how much if anything should the government do to reduce poverty” and Republicans responded “a lot” (27 percent) or “some” (37 percent) while Democrats answered (67 percent) and (27 percent) respectively.
- Raising the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour is supported by the majority of both Republicans (53 percent) and Democrats (90 percent), according to a USA Today/Pew Research Center poll. (A December 2013 Gallup poll which asked about support for raising the minimum to $9.00 garnered majorities from Republicans(58 percent) and Democrats (91 percent) as well).
- “No one who works full-time should ever have to raise a family in poverty,” a position President Obama asserted in his State of the Union address, garnered favorable responses from participants in both parties, according to a Democracy Corps swing-voter focus group dial testing in which lines among Democrats spiked to 80 and Republican lines jumped to 60.
- The government should set a goal to cut poverty in half within 10 years,according to the vast majority of Americans (70 percent). A Center for American Progress poll found this view is shared by a majority of Democrats (89 percent), independents (66 percent), and Republicans (54 percent).
Congress has a reputation for dysfunction; the parties are both insular and isolated from each other. It is rare to find common ground. But when the public shares an opinion across the political divide, Congress needs to start paying attention.