Data gathered via interviews and mailed questionnaires in two rural counties in Western Wisconsin indicate that large segments of the general citizenry and "public opinion leaders" are generally more supportive of social services than common stereotypes suggest, while also voicing criticism of what are seen as inequities in the administration of services. Large majorities view social services as an institutionalized practice in American society, large segments hold negative views of recipients, and the samples studied are in general ill-informed about social service practices. Implications are drawn regarding public information programs aimed at better informing the public about social services.

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