This article examines the proposal suggesting that policy designs are consistent with the social construction of target groups. Associated with policy design theory, the proposal pessimistically suggests that underprivileged citizens will be targeted with policies that do little to help them, creating a vicious circle of degenerative politics. This article argues that the prevalence of degenerative politics depends on policy styles. Significant where the adversarial style prevails, degenerative politics is less common in consensual systems. This proposal is examined through a systematic content analysis of action plans to reduce poverty in Newfoundland and Quebec.