Social scientists have documented more negative reactions to the concept of welfare versus the concept of poor, despite the fact that both labels can be used almost interchangeably in current political discussions. We believe that the most proximal explanation rests in the different attributional information contained within the stereotypes of welfare recipients versus poor people. Three studies were conducted to test this idea. The results suggest that the attributional content within stereotypes of welfare recipients, particularly their greater responsibility for their impoverished state compared with poor people, most influences the public's more negative reaction to welfare. The results are discussed in terms of how the rhetoric of stereotypes may be exploited in the political domain.