The Irrepressible Battle Over SNAP

Lest we forget, beneath the furor over Obamacare is an equally ferocious and in some respects equally momentous battle over the existing social safety net, in the form of funding and eligibility for SNAP (a.k.a. food stamps). There’s some new polling out that shows the battle in Congress that has snarled the farm bill reflects the views of the two major parties’ base voters. Here’s a report from HuffPost’s Arthur Delaney and Emily Swanson on reactions to the November 1 SNAP cuts that resulted from the expiration of the 2009 stimulus program:

Republican voters strongly approve of a recent cut to food stamps that reduced benefits for all 47 million Americans enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll. Meanwhile, Americans as a whole tend to disapprove of those cuts.

Republican politicians have been trying to curtail food stamp spending, but they’ve been silent about the cut that just took effect — which was the product of Democratic-backed legislation that passed in 2010. Nevertheless, Republican voters in the HuffPost/YouGov poll overwhelmingly considered the reduction a good thing.

By a 67 percent to 25 percent margin, most Republicans said they approved of the cuts. By a 67 percent to 28 percent margin, most Democrats said they disapproved. Independents were more likely to disapprove than approve, with 48 percent against the cuts and 40 percent in favor.

It’s going to be a barnburner, this fight, and probably a nasty one.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.