Poll Shows Capitalism Still More Popular Than Socialism

(CN) – Socialism was once used as a euphemism for Communism in the 20th century and has long carried negative connotations. A new survey shows that while the concept has gained traction in modern public discourse, it still lags well behind the popularity of capitalism in America.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks at the U.S. Capitol in May. Sanders has sought to define democratic socialism, the philosophy that has guided his political career, in the face of accusations that he is too liberal to win in a general election. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

In a survey of more than 10,000 adults between April 29 and May 13, the Pew Research Center found that 55% of Americans overall had a negative view of socialism and 65% held a positive view of capitalism.

Republican respondents primarily drove the negative response to socialism, with 63% of them giving a “very negative” opinion. Though 65% of Democratic respondents held a positive view of socialism, 55% of Democrats also felt positively about capitalism.

In fact, Republicans’ negative feelings about socialism eclipsed their positive feelings about capitalism. A vast majority of Republican respondents, 84%, held some degree of a negative view of socialism, while 78% had a positive view of capitalism.

Researchers synthesized the data to quantify Democrats and Republicans based on whether they viewed socialism and capitalism both positively, both negatively, or chose one to favor, and they found that Republicans were nearly twice as likely to prefer capitalism as Democrats were likely to prefer both.

Overall, Democrats were more evenly distributed amongst the four categories. Of those surveyed, 38% favored both economic concepts, 26% viewed socialism positively and capitalism negatively, 18% viewed capitalism positively and socialism negatively and 17% had a negative impression of both.

In contrast, only 4% of Republican respondents indicated support for socialism and opposition to capitalism, and only 10% had a positive impression of both. Republicans were more likely to dislike either concept than to prefer socialism over capitalism.

Researchers also analyzed respondents’ demographics, which made a noticeable difference in their attitudes toward either concept. Overall, every demographic polled above 50% in support of capitalism, but the support grew with age, education level and income level.

Exactly half of respondents under 30 and those who made less than $30,000 annually showed support for socialism, while black respondents were nearly twice as likely (65%) to support socialism as their white counterparts (38%). Only 34% of respondents over 65 said they had a positive impression of socialism.

The Republicans most likely to favor socialism were women and younger adults, at 20% and 25%, respectively. Democrats between the ages of 18 and 29 were the only group that showed less than half (43%) support for capitalism.

Though the data suggests that Americans still prefer capitalism to socialism, it also shows Democrats are open to a hybrid of the two economic concepts. Socialism is linked with more robust social programs, such as nationalized health care and free higher education – notable policy goals of several Democratic frontrunners in the 2020 presidential election cycle.

%d bloggers like this: