The American people are strongly critical of the way the federal foodstamp program has worked out, but they want to reform it, not abolish it.

The public supports the general assumptions behind the program. More than 9 out of 10 feel that in "a nation as rich as food as we are, no American should go hungry." A 61-to-29 per cent majority rejects the notion that "people just have to learn that if they can't provide for themselves, they won't eat."

But by 65-to-22 per cent the public gives the present plan low marks, and their criticisms are specific and widely held.

By 81 to 10 per cent, a majority feels that "too many students and other people find ways to qualify for food stamps and make the program a ripoff the government." here are clear signs that people want a much more careful screening of those who apply for food stamps to see if they meet the eligibility requirements.

A 64-to10 per cent majority also agrees that "things have reached a state where there is an underground black market among your po where there is an underground black market among young people on food stamps, and thats bad."

There have been a number of reports that food stamps have been used as currency to pay off debts, purchase other products and pay rents-all of which is specifically outside the purpose of the program.

Despite these criticisms, a 73-to 17 per cent majority says that "under the food program, people don't get free food, but have to pay at least part of their grocery bill, so it isn't just a giveaway."

Furthermore, this survey of 1,540 adults shows that although Americans are dissatisfied with the food-stamp program, they are willing to support other proposals that would accomplish the basic job.