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Does government aid to the poor do more harm than good?

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Overall, 49 percent of Americans believe that government programs designed to help the poor do more good than harm, according to new study released by the Pew Research Center.

That same study, which provided numerous poll results concerning American attitudes toward government policies since the recession, found that slightly less (44 percent) believe government programs do more harm than good.

Pew also divided the responses up by income and political party affiliation. For example, those who make $100,000 or more are far more likely to say that government programs hinder efforts to decrease poverty than those who make under $30,000.

Partisan lines are also expectedly stark. Republicans are overwhelmingly convinced that government programs don’t help, while the opposite is true for Democrats.

Another fascinating finding from the study is that 47 percent of Americans currently consider themselves to be “middle class,” which is slightly up from January of last year.

Also, while the U.S. Census Bureau puts the number of Americans in poverty at 14.5 percent, the Pew study found that only 10 percent of Americans identify as distinctly “lower class” (29 percent identify as “lower-middle class”).

According to Pew, the 1 percent that identify as “upper class” are those who make more than $100,000, the same demographic most likely to say government programs aren't helpful to the poor.

JJ Feinauer is a writer and web producer for Deseret News National Email: jfeinauer@deseretdigital.com, Twitter: jjfeinauer.