Are attitudes hardening?

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation claims that attitudes towards the poor are hardening. They report:

Fifteen per cent of the public in 1994 thought people lived in need because of laziness or lack of willpower, compared to 23% in 2010. Support for the view that people live in poverty because of injustice in society fell from 29% to 21% over the same time period.

The evidence they’ve cited isn’t persuasive. 1994 was the point when fewest people agreed with this statement in over thirty years. In 2003, 28% agreed with the statement; in 1976, it was 43%. See e.g. P Dorey, A Poverty of Imagination, Political Quarterly 81(3) 2010. So 23% in 2010 is at the lower end.

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