Saturday, September 21, 2013

Food Stamps

Conservatives have tried to label Obama the "food stamp president," but my impression was that they haven't gotten a lot of traction with the issue.  I looked for more systematic information on views of food stamps.  There have been some (although fewer than I would have expected) straightforward questions of the basic form "should spending on food stamps be increased, decreased, or kept about the same?"  Here is a figure showing the difference between "increased" and "decreased".  For example, in January 1981 11% said increased and 47% said decreased, for a balance of -36.  

There was a lot of sentiment for reducing spending on food stamps in the early 1980s, but then things evened out.  Since 1984, the usual numbers have been about 20% in favor of increasing, 30% in favor of decreasing, and 45% in favor of keeping it the same (the rest "don't know").  November 1994 was the only exception.  My impression seems to have been about right--calls to cut food stamps aren't as popular as they were in the days of Ronald Reagan, or even Newt Gingrich.    

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