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Poll Finds Mixed Feelings About Welfare Reform

Thu., Jan. 12, 1995

Americans strongly support the idea of cutting ablebodied people off welfare after two years and making them get a job. But they have second thoughts about getting tough if a parent can’t find a job or support her family on low wages, said survey results released today.

The Kaiser Family Foundation and a Harvard University program found those mixed feelings among those polled on some of the welfare reform ideas up for debate in Congress as Republicans push their “Contract With America.”

Among the key findings in the telephone poll of 1,200 adults conducted Dec.

Sixty-eight percent favored ending welfare payments after two years and making able-bodied people get a job. But support for the cutoff plummeted to 26 percent if the family head could not make enough to support his or her family, and to 16 percent if the person couldn’t find a job.

Sixty-four percent favored denying welfare to non-citizens, including most legal immigrants.

Fifty-nine percent backed denying additional help to mothers who bear more children while on welfare - a step New Jersey already has taken.

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