The Delta Grassroots Caucus (DGC) is a broad coalition of grassroots leaders in the eight-state Delta region. DGC is also a founding partner of the Economic Equality Caucus,
which advocates for economic equality across the USA.

Poll of Lower Income Americans Shows Support for Strong US Government Programs to Fight Hunger and Poverty

Posted on November 27, 2020 at 11:44 AM

“Poll of Lower-Income Americans Shows Support for US Government Programs to Fight Hunger and Poverty in the midst of Rising Poverty during the Pandemic”

An in-depth poll disseminated by the national anti-hunger and poverty organization Hunger Free America found that many lower to mid-income people lost income due to the pandemic, have low-paying jobs and can’t find better paying ones, and have recently lost family income due to illness or disabilities.

The poll found a broad consensus among people from rural as well as suburban and urban areas making less than $50,000 in favor of increasing the federal minimum wage, guaranteeing living wage jobs to all adults, increasing spending on SNAP nutrition programs, and eliminate bureaucratic rules in which people lose all their benefits as soon as they work more hours or get a raise.

The poll was conducted by Kupersmit Research, a nationally recognized polling organization, on behalf of Hunger Free America, whose CEO, Joel Berg is a partner and frequent participant at Delta Caucus events.

Support for expanding the SNAP program cuts across both rural and urban America as well as gaining strong support from Republicans, Independents, and Democrats alike among lower income people, the poll found.

“People in Arkansas and the rest of the 8-state Greater Delta Region owe a debt of gratitude to Hunger Free America for continuing to shed the light of truth on rising hunger and poverty during the pandemic, as well as the reality that lower-income people strongly support policies like increased SNAP benefits, higher minimum wage, and elimination of red tape obstructing eligible people from obtaining benefits,” said Delta Caucus director Lee Powell.

Key findings: 73 % of those polled wanted the US government to take steps necessary to end US hunger.

Kathy Webb of Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance said, “The results of this poll confirm what the Alliance has long said: Raising SNAP benefits is imperative. Reducing barriers to accessing federal nutrition programs is imperative. The charitable food network, called on to do more than ever, cannot alone meet the needs of the 160,000 MORE Arkansans struggling to access nutritious food.”

Asked about the statement, “The U.S. government should enact the policies and programs necessary to end U.S. hunger by ensuring that all Americans can afford and access sufficient, nutritious, culturally compatible food:”

–45 percent strongly agreed, 28 percent somewhat agreed, five percent somewhat disagreed, and two percent strongly disagreed (14% did not take a position). Only 7% either somewhat or strongly disagreed.

Two thirds (67%) agreed that “If the U.S. government decided to spend as much as necessary, we could eliminate U.S. poverty, homelessness, and hunger.,” including 41% who strongly agreed and 26% who somewhat agreed (15% neither agreed nor disagreed, 7% somewhat disagreed, and 5% strongly disagreed).

The poll clearly indicates that low-income Americans believe that the government could choose to solve these problems, if leaders made it a priority to do so.

Support for Domestic national service: The poll also found strong support for reviving the spirt of the original G.I. Bill by enabling any Americans willing to perform a year of domestic national serve to receive a large post-service voucher to pay for higher education, to buy a first home, or to start a business.

Joel Berg, CEO of Hunger Free America, a national anti-hunger direct service and advocacy organization, said: “Even before the pandemic, nearly one in five Americans lived near or below the poverty line, pushing the great American middle class closer and closer to extinction.”

Berg stressed that rather than assuming we knew what people in poverty or near it favored for policies to fight poverty, they commissiond an objective poll. In the last election, virtually the only thing that united the most pro-Trump rural counties and the most pro-Biden cities was high levels of poverty and low levels of income. Instead of assuming we knew what people in and near poverty were going through and what policies they wanted, we asked them.

It’s held a mirror up to America and forced us to confront the hard truth that we are more unequal right now than ever before. As more families are pushed to the breaking point, this research points towards a concrete policy agenda that Republicans and Democrats alike should coalesce around as we work to expand economic mobility and opportunity for all.”

Congresswoman Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) said, “Today, hunger, poverty and inequality are all on the rise across America. This new poll not only identifies the barriers low-income Americans face to getting ahead, it also shows there is broad agreement on the policy solutions that would give them a hand up during this difficult time.”

Rep. Fudge–who is widely considered one of the front-runners to be President-Elect Joe Biden’s Secretary at USDA that administers the SNAP program, said, “From raising the minimum wage and ensuring access to health care to boosting SNAP benefits, these are commonsense solutions that Congress can act on now to help struggling families put food on the table. Rising hunger in America is a moral and policy failure – addressing it should never be a partisan issue.”

For those interested in more specifics, detailed poll findings are listed below:

ADDENDUM–Detailed Poll Findings Among Americans Ages 18-64:

–· In response to the question, “which generally has to do more with why a person in the U.S. is rich?”,

–64 percent said “they have had more advantages in life than most other people,” 22 percent said “they have worked harder than most other people,” and 14 percent weren’t sure.

–· In response to the question, “which generally has to do more with why a person in the U.S. lives in poverty?”,

–65 percent said “They have faced more obstacles in life than most other people, 22 percent said “they have not worked as hard as most other people,” and 14 percent said they were not sure.

–· In response to the question, “thinking about most people who live in or near poverty, which of these do you agree with the most?”,

–35 percent said “they face too many obstacles to ever get ahead,” 36 percent said “they could get ahead, but they need help from government and society,” 16 percent said “they could get ahead on their own if they worked harder and saved more,” and 16 percent were not sure.

· In response to the question, “Do you think that having hope for the future makes a difference? Which of these best describes your situation?”,

–29 percent said “if I had more hope that I could get ahead in the future, I might work a little harder and save a bit more,” 49 percent said “I am already working as hard as I can and saving as much as possible, so, hope for the future has nothing to do with it,” eight percent said “I don’t try to work harder or save more because there is really no chance I will ever get ahead,” and 14 percent didn’t know.

–· In response to the question, “Thinking about government benefits programs that are available to help people who are struggling to make ends meet In general, do you think these programs give people:”

–22 percent of respondents said “Not enough to survive,” 37 percent said “Enough to survive, but not enough to make ends meet,” 19 percent said “Enough to make ends meet, but with a lot of stress,” 10 percent said “Enough to make ends meet, but with minimal stress,” four percent said “More than enough to make ends meet,” and 8 percent were not sure.