This study compared how a nonrandom sample of 112 middle-class persons and 124 welfare recipients explained poverty and perceived the welfare system and welfare recipients. Analyses revealed that welfare recipients were more likely to make structural attributions for poverty and to reject restrictive welfare-reform policies. However, they were also more likely than middle-class respondents to regard welfare recipients as dishonest and idle. Both groups underestimated the percentage of European Americans receiving public assistance. Implications for intergroup relations and public policy are discussed.