A 2008 study by Suzanne Mettler, Cornell's Clinton Rossiter Professor of American Institutions, published in Perspectives on Politics demonstrates a disconnect between fact and perception. According to Mettler's survey 44% of Social Security recipients, 43% of those receiving unemployment, and 40% of those on Medicare say they “have not used a government program.” The percentages are even higher for the lesser known so-called submerged state government subsidies. (Blue in the chart.)
It's little wonder that low-information voters oppose generic government aid programs. They have little understanding of what those programs are and who is benefiting from them. Ill-informed conservative voters seem to think that only freeloading slackers receive government benefits when in fact the better known programs primarily benefit (90%) the elderly, disabled, and working families. "Real" self-reliant Americans are also largely unaware that they themselves have likely benefited from submerged state subsidies.
Ignorance may be bliss, but it doesn't make for sound public policy.