New Opportunities? Public Opinion on Poverty, Income Inequality and Public Policy, 1996-2002

New Opportunities? Public Opinion on Poverty, Income Inequality and Public Policy, 1996-2002

October 1, 2002
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The following report analyzes public opinion between 1996 and 2001. The report draws on over a dozen suveys commissioned by non-profit organizations, media outlets and foundations, as well as from two regularly conducted academic surveys. The results outlined in this report indicate that while long-standing disagreements about the causes of poverty endure, the public stands united in support of policies to make work pay and improve the standard of working families' lives. This support appears to emerge from a growing recognition that hard work is no longer a guarantee against poverty and income insecurity. With strong support for public policies ranging from raising the minimum wage to providing health care, there is cause for optimism that a policy agenda around economic security could garner wide public support.

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