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Poll: Overwhelming Majority Of Conservatives Believe Poor ‘Have It Easy’

Memo Pad Politics

Poll: Overwhelming Majority Of Conservatives Believe Poor ‘Have It Easy’


When Mitt Romney infamously mused on the 47 percent of Americans who leech off the government, he may have been speaking for about 80 percent of his party.

On Thursday, the Pew Research Center released a wide-ranging survey on political attitudes in an increasingly polarized United States. The survey, which sampled a massive 10,013 adults nationwide between January 23 and March 16, sorted Americans into eight political typologies: steadfast conservatives, business conservatives, solid liberals, young outsiders, hard-pressed skeptics, the next-generation left, the faith-and- family left, and bystanders (you can see where you fit into Pew’s map of the electorate here).

Pew surveyed dozens of questions, but one stands out in particular: When asked if they agree more with the statement that “poor people have hard lives because government benefits don’t go far enough to help them live decently” or “poor people have it easy because they can get government benefits without doing anything,” conservatives overwhelmingly side with the latter.

Chart via Pew Research Center

Chart via Pew Research Center

The political implications of this divide are clear. There’s a reason that Republican politicians insist that unemployment benefits hurt the unemployed, or that food stamps must be cut to prevent the poor from becoming complacent, or coalesce behind budgets that actively attempt to eradicate the social safety net: It’s what the Republican base believes.

So much for compassionate conservatism.

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Henry Decker

Henry Decker was formerly the Managing Editor of The National Memo. He is currently an Online Associate at MRCampaigns.

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  1. ExRadioGuy15 June 27, 2014

    Once again proving that they’re psychopaths. Seriously, people: while they completely ignore or refuse to acknowledge the sad fact that Fascist Con psychopathic greed CREATES all of the people in need, they ALSO refuse to acknowledge another sad fact: that they and other Cons and the big corporations get tax breaks for DOING NOTHING….I’m telling you, they’re psychopaths…how much more proof do you need?!?

  2. ExRadioGuy15 June 27, 2014

    This media source does “This Week in Crazy” every Friday…Psychopathy is insanity…insanity is one of the 10 Tenets of the GOP….
    The two-thirds majority of voters in the GOP, Progressives and Moderates, need to WAKE UP and start voting for Democrats.

    1. kenndeb June 28, 2014

      Are you daft? The democrats have taken a bad situation after Bush, and turned it into something so bad that most can’t believe this is happening in America. A vote for a democrat is a vote to further destroy OUR country. The dam is crumbling under the weight of the water behind it, and you democrats are adding buckets into it.

      1. ExRadioGuy15 June 28, 2014

        No, I’m not “daft”, kenndeb…what I am is not swayed by GOP Fascism and propaganda, as you apparently are.
        Seriously: if you’re going to debate, try doing it WITHOUT propaganda and logical fallacies….

        1. BillP June 28, 2014

          Now, now Ex lets be fair to ken, in his right wing bubble world facts are not needed. Just saying something makes it true. You do notice he capitalized “OUR”, do you think we are included in this “OUR”. When you provide facts to counter his “claims” he just states that President Obama changed the way things are done or calculated. This seems to be a common thread with the trolls on this site.

          1. Dominick Vila June 29, 2014

            The common denominator is that they never offer evidence to support their claims.

      2. highpckts June 28, 2014

        So you admit that Bush did a terrible job??? Wow!! To me, after his tenure, the only way was up!!

      3. Independent1 June 30, 2014

        I guess we can see from the other posts who those on the NM thinks is daft! I know it would really be silly of me to even suggest that you could be specific about what it is that “most can’t believe is happening in America” because as you’ve proven before – you don’t have a clue what you’re talking about!!

        So let me guess what people can’t believe is happening in America:

        – The fact that the deficit has come down further and faster over the past 6 years than at any other time in history!
        – That Obama has been the smallest spending president since Eisenhower!
        – That Obama kept America from falling in one more GOP manufactured world-wide depression by following through with the auto bailout and stimulus!
        – That America’s auto industry has earned more profits in the past 3 years than at any time since Clinton was in office!
        – That more high school grads have been able to get loans for college because Obama cut the banks out of the process!
        – That more gas and oil have been produced by America in the past 2 years than at any time in the past 3 decades and America may soon take over from Russia the honor of being the biggest energy producing nation on the planet!
        – That Obama actually kept up with his pursuit of bin Laden and not only got him but has also eliminated more al Qaeda operatives than any previous president!
        – That there have been more than 50 straight months of jobs growth with more jobs created in the past 5 plus years than were created in 12 years under both Bushes!
        – That despite the GOP’s all out efforts to kill the economy, Obama has managed things so that the unemployment rate is only .7 percentage points over what virtually all economists consider FULL EMPLOYMENT!!
        – That Obama actually started a war on fraud in the defense and healthcare sectors bringing more people to justice trying to defraud our government and recovered more fraud money than the past 3 presidents combined!
        – That Obama has actually tried to do something about immigration and his administration has rounded up and deported more troublesome illegals than any previous president!
        – That Obama has fully or partially kept more than 75% of the 500 promises he made during the years he was working up to campaigning for the presidency!
        – That the stock market is up almost 10,000 points since Obama took office saving the retirements of millions of Americans such as myself whose retirements had been virtually destroyed by the disastrous 8 years of Bush!
        – That Obama can only be held responsible for about 1 trillion of the increase in our debt since Bush left office based on budgets he’s submitted and legislation he’s signed – leaving Reagan and the 2 Bushes responsible for more than 90% of our 17 plus trillion in debt.

        Do you need more examples or did I cover those you were thinking about – Ooops!! I suggested you could think – sorry!!!

  3. Sand_Cat June 27, 2014

    All one has to do is read the posts of the “conservative” trolls on this site to realize the truth of the article’s premise.

  4. Independent1 June 28, 2014

    The only way the results of this poll makes any sense to me, is if there is a total disconnect between what conservatives envision as “the poor” and what most other “normal people” envision as “the poor” (those who haven’t been brainwashed by the GOP). Given that it’s red states (where conservatives mostly live) that dominate the nation in people living below the poverty level and therefore utilizing welfare (handouts) the most, including food stamps;,it certainly seems that it’s a lot of conservatives who are not seeing themselves as being “the poor”; which they clearly are and which the vast majority of non conservatives consider as being included in “the poor”. A big chunk of Mitt Romney’s 47% of people who haven’t recently ended up needing to pay taxes, are in fact conservatives in red states; but I doubt seriously that the conservatives who responded to the PEW poll were thinking of themselves as being classified by millions of nonconservatives as being “poor”, and therefore justifiably needing government help, when they answered the poll the way they did.

    It’s pretty clear to me that the conservatives who answered the PEW poll think of “the poor” as being almost exclusively the “big city” poor that Paul Ryan described as being a major problem for the country – you know, it’s those lazy, good for nothing poor who live in the big cities who through the years have just resigned themselves to living on handouts from the government. I think it’s that vision of “the poor” that the conservatives who responded to the PEW poll were thinking of and clearly not themselves, as being included in “the poor”. The millions of today’s poor who had always been hard working people until they ran into tough times and needed a helping hand – somehow, conservatives seem to not even believe that these folks exist, even though “these poor” are them – which they envision as lazy good for nothings just waiting from the next handout from the government. Talk about being delusional – and it’s almost 80% of conservatives!!

    1. Dominick Vila June 28, 2014

      Another possibility is that the pollsters that reached this conclusion are the same pollsters that predicted a Romney victory and prompted the GOP leadership to book ball rooms across the country to celebrate his landslide victory. The polls that matter are the votes cast by mainstream Americans.

  5. Dominick Vila June 28, 2014

    Do Republicans actually believe the poor have it too easy, or could it be that they hate those among us who cannot succeed, become wealthy, and share their material values? I don’t think Republicans are as ignorant as we think. They know that families living in a two bedroom apartment, in a dangerous neighborhood, whose children go to substandard schools, and who can only afford WIC items to survive, are having a great time.
    What they are really saying is that inequality does not exist, that we are all sharing the wealth and opportunities that exist in the most powerful country in the world, and that social programs designed to help the poor are not necessary and should be eliminated.

  6. Pamby50 June 28, 2014

    They are so delusional. I still believe they should have to live in a poor area without access to all their money for a month. A week they could do but a month. No way.

    1. Independent1 June 28, 2014

      If it’s actually 80% of conservatives as this article suggests, then a large chunk of those who responded to the poll that the poor are lazy worthless bums, do in fact live in very poor areas and are on welfare, but delusionally don’t see themselves as being the poor they think are the lazy worthless bums they would deprive of the government’s help.

    2. kenndeb June 28, 2014

      How can you people be so uninformed? Do you really think all conservatives have money? Why should Americans pay to support people that just take? I’m all for helping those that need it, but to pay people to sit on their butts and do nothing is not what should be done. We have a system that rewards people for doing nothing but take. The poor people are the ones that work 2 or 3 jobs, can’t get any help because they make too much income, yet have a hard time feeding their family. It isn’t those that are on welfare, having everything paid for with enough to keep their fridge filled with beer.

      1. highpckts June 28, 2014

        And just how do you sort the people out??? Do you decide who is “poor” and who isn’t? Do you decide who deserves your generosity and who doesn’t? What is your criteria for being “poor”? So if you are working your ass of 24-7 with no time off and still can’t make it, you get help? If you have a family, you should be sterilized so as not to put anymore burden on you, they should find a decent paying job because they have no education, but are just too lazy to work? They don’t get any kind of help? Do Vets get your help when they have been injured and can’t find work? Please lay out your criteria?

        1. Allan Richardson June 29, 2014

          No money for birth control, remember?

      2. achap39 June 28, 2014

        Do you really think the majority of people ‘just take’ and do nothing? Have you been unemployed in the last 10 years?

        Just LOOKING for a job may as well be a full-time job nowadays. If you can find a real person to talk to. If you can find someone to read your resume, and not parse it out for keywords and automatically eliminate you from the job pool.

        You know WHY people can’t survive working 2-3 jobs? Because your precious corporations and RayGun sent all the ‘traditional’ jobs overseas in exchange for tax breaks and corporate profits.

      3. Allan Richardson June 29, 2014

        The fact is that MOST of the people on welfare ARE working two or three jobs, IF they can find one and IF they can afford for someone to WATCH their kids while they try to earn enough to SUPPORT them. A very tiny, miniscule number of people with little cash income are gaming the system, and the system being as stingy as it is, they are not getting very much.

        FAR MORE of your tax money and mine is going to subsidize the WEALTHY and CORPORATIONS who pay ZERO taxes, or close to zero, on BILLIONS of dollars in profits. Why do you think they spend millions on political ads to mislead YOU to vote for politicians who give them those subsidies? Because it’s worth it to invest millions and get back billions!

  7. Patricia Robertson June 28, 2014

    The more money they have the more they want and complain about. They are never satisfied. Everyone else just keep going along trying to survive and the rich can’t figure it out. The rich go to bed at night worry about which on of their love will come during the night and take their life and bet they have change their will hundred times during the day to add and take people names depending on their moods. Then they are upset they can’t get domestic help these days, people of color just don’t want to work in their homes, around their homes, cook for them, wash their cloths, take of their children, like in the good ole days and it just have gotten worst since we have gotten that black president. We just need to impeach him and get back the good ole days. Wonder what days they were? It must have been in there minds because those days have been long gone and won’t be back, so they need to get over it and get a life. Yes to them the poor has it easy because we don’t worry about the same things they do, but no we don’t have it easy because we do have to work harder to make a living but it is an honest living.

  8. howa4x June 28, 2014

    Well if they think the poor have too good more of them should try it

  9. joe schmo June 28, 2014

    They need to work for their welfare unless they are disabled or if the individual is a woman with small children. Many are LAZY. Working would give them training and would help them gain respect. Just think of the money we would save:) This is how you keep people suppressed……

    Lunacy is one of the 10 Tenets of the ‘Jack Asses.’

    1. Allan Richardson June 29, 2014

      I challenge you to arrange to have your bank accounts frozen and to move into the “hood” for 30 days and try to get enough to live on. Maybe one of the cable networks should set this up for people to try, and film the failures most of them have. Remember, it would be against the rules to contact ANY of your current acquaintances; just be “dropped” into a bad part of town and see if you starve or learn to “take” to make up the difference AFTER you get a low paying job.

      And that is an individual, not a family. It would not be ethical to put someone’s kids through this. But I would love to see Donald Trump trying to survive as a hillbilly laborer on TV! It might change his attitude to the apprentices he so cavalierly “fires” on his show.

      1. joe schmo June 29, 2014

        Well, Allan guess what. Why don’t you get your ass down to Watts or Compton or Harlem. Let’s see how you survive and let’s take away that union job and all the benefits that go with making money at an 8 to 5. What will you do? Take welfare or do any scrappy thing to survive.

        I know all too well what the mentality of many minorities like Blacks and Hispanics operate because I taught them. Their problem is not lack of wanting, it is lack of trying because they do not have the confidence in thinking they can get out of the projects. I think we need to bolster up their abilities to believe that they can succeed. If people have nothing, they either resort to becoming more innovative or they turn to criminal activity. Able bodied men should work.

        We consider ourselves to be part of the poor in this country. Because of
        a BAD economy, chronic illness and hard luck we just are not making it
        and guess what, we don’t live on food stamps or take welfare. We do
        odd jobs and work for friends and family. Anything to make a living. Any old junky job that comes up we take.

        Look people don’t have to be on welfare. Here we are taking in more and more illegals and we cannot even give jobs to our own citizens. Just like the guy in Maine who came over here from Angola with his family and could not get a job. Well, guess what, he is on welfare. Just tooo easy. Now Maine wants to cut their welfare costs. I personally think it is a great idea. Maybe then the freeloaders will head to the blue states and take more of that free Obama money. Where will the Blue states be then. Many are already in trouble (California and New York)

        Donald Trump would never end up in the ghetto simply because he is super organized, very innovative, and works too HARD.

        1. highpckts June 29, 2014

          Bull Hockey!!! So many shades of grey in that statement! Can’t “lump” everyone in convenient pockets and be done with it!

          1. joe schmo June 30, 2014

            Oh yah, what didn’t you get. What I say is the truth because I live it every single day…. Yes we can, there are the do’s and the do nots.

            Guess what all you fools want to do is enable and keep minorities shackled to social programs….and you will hate this part:

            “The tea party conservatives are leading the country’s effort to save tens of millions of black babies, the ones working to improve the inner-city schools that are failing the black community,” Viguerie exclaimed. “It’s the conservative approach to the economy, the free market that has brought so many people, including blacks, out of poverty.”

            The “establishment,” on the other hand, wants people “enslaved to the plantation of big government,” he said.

            LOLOLO…..so true…. I only believe in welfare, disability and other socialistic programs for the disabled, handicapped and mother’s who need to be home with their children. Even then I believe there should be child care paid for through the government so that these women can get a decent college education. I believe all women should be able to take care of their families if there is no man around. It will only empower them and they would be a fantastic role model for their kids.

          2. highpckts July 1, 2014

            The biggest welfare takers are the red states that take more than they bring in and corporations with all their tax loop holes and overseas accounts!

          3. joe schmo July 2, 2014

            Nope, Blue states are doing the best at paying off their debt and offering jobs. Let the welfare recipients head to the blue states because that is where they will get everything they need. The tax base will leave and then what? No money. They will be further in the hole because of it. Look at California, New York and Michigan:)

            As for the corps, why don’t we lower corporate taxes and stringent regulations and maybe they will bring their business home. America is not very private industry friendly. Why do you suppose that is?

            Oh and by the way, new poll suggests that Obama is the worst president since WWII. Nixon was not even voted to be as bad…..

          4. highpckts July 2, 2014

            You know without revenue bills can’t be paid so lowering corp taxes and getting rid of regulations will do nothing except hurt you! Revenue must come from somewhere hence the person they look at is the tax payer! The last thing we need is NO regulations!! We are in enough trouble as it is! Lord knows what big corps would do with no one watching over them!! Profit is the name of the game and if you think for one minute they will give up the profits they are reaping overseas, you live in lala land!

          5. highpckts July 2, 2014

            Oh and by the way, I don’t give a rats A– what the polls say!!

          6. joe schmo July 4, 2014

            Of course you don’t. You only care about what you think and that is where the problem lies….. Lowest poll ratings since WWII….. We are sick of this Leftist regime…..

          7. highpckts July 5, 2014

            You know when only 1/3 of the population thinks that Obama is the worst President, that’s hardly all of us!!
            Do the math!!

          8. joe schmo July 5, 2014

            More than you may think. More like 56% according to various polls.

            Six in 10 Americans now have an
            unfavorable opinion of President Barack Obama, according to Andrew Langer, president of the Institute for Liberty. People are most upset about the bad economy and the poor Obamacare rollout.

            ‘And yet, all of those bad numbers pale in comparison to how people responded to this question: “Thinking about the rest of Barack Obama’s term as president, do you think he can lead the country and get the job done or do you no longer feel that he is able to lead the country and get the job done?”

            Fifty-four percent — let me repeat, 54 percent — said that Obama “cannot lead and get the job done,” while just 42 percent said he could lead. I asked the pollsters behind the NBC-WSJ survey for the party ID breakouts on that question, and here’s what they sent me: 84 percent of Republicans said that Obama can’t lead or get the job done, as did six in ten (61 percent) of independents. (Just one in five Democrats agreed.)

            Hanging on by a thread are we?

  10. charleo1 June 28, 2014

    Eric Erickson has a good read that describes the frustration that abounds on the Conservative Right. Whatever, and wherever that is anymore. It’s about the recent runoff in MS. between T-Party candidate Chris McDaniel, and establishment Republican Thad Cochran. It’s called, “The Marionette’s Remain Uncut.” Erickson ends the piece by stating, “I continue to oppose forming a Third Party. I’m just not sure what the Republican Party stands for, other than telling Obama no, and telling our corporate interests yes. And that’s not much of a platform.” The rabid Right on the blog boards were as one might have guessed furious over Cochran’s soliciting, and receiving the help of the mostly Black, nearly all Democratic vote, to defeat McDaniel. A well known White Supremest/White Supremest sympathizer, by a very close margin. What was most striking, was the genuine panic of the posters, of what was going to become of them, and the Country, if the T-Party movement fails to remove RINOs like Cochran, ‘Who would do anything, even resort to, “Illegal, Democrats,” and, “Obama voters,” to win elections?” And almost as remarkable, was the contrast between Erickson, as hard core a writer as they come. and the deep, and profound dissidence, displayed by the rank, and file, T-Party commentators. And while I often hear what is surely phony partisan outrage. With these posters, at home on their site, they are indeed, truly lost souls. And I’ll be damned if I know how to rescue them. I’m comforted that much wiser folk than I are trying. But, even living in the State of MS. Practically a ward of the Federal Gov. and it’s considerable largess. Their most consistent knock on Cochran, the thing that made them the angriest, was his reputation as being, what they call, “an appropriator.” Yes, a Senator that brings home the bacon, that on which in MS. a great number of their own jobs depend, or indirectly depend. Leaving the sane no other option, but to save these misguided souls from themselves, and the Country from them, and for ourselves, in the bargain.

  11. Joanna June 29, 2014

    Our creativity, moral standards, learned customs, and traditions are four of the key differences between mankind and the other animals.

  12. Allan Richardson June 29, 2014

    If these people had built the Titanic, they would have insisted on NO lifeboats being provided; the wealthier passengers (referred to by a character in the movie as “the BETTER half”) would have the option to pack their own inflatable life rafts.

    These people read “A Christmas Carol” and “Gone with the Wind” backwards, and watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” and the Grinch cartoon in reverse, because for them it gives a happier ending!

  13. charles king June 29, 2014

    I like What? is going on In America today and I think evreything is going to be alright. I think as a whole We the the People has started to do some Critical Thinking. Know Who? the cheaters are, Know Where? the Republicans and Plutocracts, Corporations that do not pay their share of the taxes, and Why? they they do not pay-up. When? we all start thinking about the problems and Why? aren’t they solved then we will see the picture from a truth perspective and come up with the answers that will bring some value to all of the country’s citizens. The President and his Admin. is trying to get the People to do some critical thinking and this is good because the President knowa that he Wouldn’t have been re-elected if You the People did not do some critical thinking (He Wouldn”t have been re-elected), so get aboard and start checking out Who? is doing What? to make America’s Democracy work for all of us. Thank You are the magic words in my book. I Love Ya All. Mr. C. E. KING

  14. fishingfly June 29, 2014

    If they really believed this and strictly observed the truest teachings of Christ as they claim, they would all be clamoring to give their extra wealth to charitable organizations and live an austere existence knowing that they are living a true Christian life and finding great peace.

    1. joe schmo July 4, 2014

      …..And who are the biggest charitable organizations….Middle class, conservative church goers….. Good try.


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