The Votes Are In: Six in 10 US Voters Oppose Cuts to SNAP

by Katherine Sacks

7/27/18

A new survey commissioned by the Center for Livable Future found nearly two-thirds of voters oppose cuts in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps, the largest anti-hunger program in the US. SNAP is the major issue at the heart of the Senate and House negotiations over the 2018 farm bill.

Although concerns about the farm bill are wide ranging — from subsidies to cuts of conservation programs — possible changes to SNAP has been a major concern. After all, a truly just, sustainable food system is one where everyone has access to healthy food, and if people lose access to their SNAP benefits, they may be forced to go hungry.

SNAP provides aid to more than 45 million people in the US who suffer from income inequality and food insecurity. The House version of the farm bill proposes major changes to SNAP, including the expansion of work requirements and the imposition of harsh penalties on those who don’t meet certain criteria, while the Senate suggests relatively little change to the program. SNAP funding, which has been part of farm legislation since the 1960s, makes up roughly 80 percent of the farm bill spending. In the coming weeks, the House and Senate will combine their versions of the farm bill in order to produce a final bill to be signed by President Trump.

For those of us who care about improving our food system, ensuring everyone has food to eat is incredibly important. As it turns out, it’s also important to the majority of registered voters. As a new, wide-ranging poll found, the majority of voters don’t want to scale back SNAP benefits. The poll, published this week by John Hopkins’ Center for a Livable Future (CLF), surveyed more than 1,000 voters, 61 percent of whom were opposed to reducing funding for SNAP and believe the government should be doing more for those facing food insecurity and related challenges. Of those opposed to SNAP reductions, 73 percent were strongly opposed.

SNAP funding is just one issue CLF surveyed about the farm bill line-up. “Providing support to farms and farmers of all stripes was also found to be important to survey participants,” said Bob Martin, director of the Food System Policy Program at the CLF. Respondents also supported government programs that help beginning farmers and ranchers, including veterans and those who are socially disadvantaged, in addition to increased funding for small and mid-size farms.

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