Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Mellen, Robbin B.

Committee Member

Perry, Ravi K.

Committee Member

Shaffer, Stephen D.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Political Science

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Political Science and Public Administration


The plight of the poor has played a role in America’s politics for decades. In the 1930’s, Franklin Roosevelt’s Democratic Party vowed to fight the Great Depression, and by implementing countless anti-poverty initiatives and agencies it won enormous favor with the public and ushered in a period of Democratic dominance. In modern politics, narratives surrounding the poor and programs designed to help them are utilized by Republicans and Democrats to further their party’s agenda. I examine the influence of various demographic factors on the attitudes of Mississippi residents towards spending by the government intended to alleviate poverty, using the Mississippi Poll’s results from the years 2004-2014 as my dataset and using cross-tabulation analyses to draw conclusions. I find that gender and religiosity are relatively weak predictors of poverty spending attitudes, while income, education, and age are stronger predictors, and race and party identification are very strong predictors.