Democrats have a more positive view of socialism than capitalism, poll finds


The upset primary win in New York by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a huge moment for the Democratic Party because it shows the left-wing base is energized heading into the midterms, according to AP National Politics Reporter Steve Peoples. (June 27)

WASHINGTON – Capitalism, Democrats just aren’t that into you. 

According to a Gallup poll published Monday, a majority of Democrats no longer hold a positive view of capitalism, while nearly 60 percent of them feel good about socialism. More than 70 percent of Republicans, on the other hand, see capitalism positively, while only 16 percent of them have a positive view of socialism. 

The positive view of socialism among Democrats, and those who lean Democrat, actually dropped a point from 58 percent in 2016. But in those same two years, positive feelings about capitalism plummetted from 56 to 47 percent. 

Faith in the invisible hand of the market weakened most among young Americans. While 57 percent of those between ages 18 and 29 viewed capitalism positively in 2016, only 45 percent felt the same way in 2018. 

Gallup’s results reflect what many analysts and pundits have identified as a shift toward socialism within the Democratic Party. The success of self-identified socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary, and the upset victory of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – a member of the Democratic Socialists of America – over incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley, R-N.Y., are often cited as evidence of that shift. 

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“It’s possible that the drop in Democrats’ positive views of capitalism is related to Donald Trump’s presidency,” said Gallup’s Editor-in-Chief Frank Newport. “Trump is an enthusiastic capitalist, and his administration’s efforts to roll back regulations on business and industry, as well as the tax cut law that is advantageous to businesses and corporations, may have caused Democrats to view the entire capitalist enterprise with less positive eyes.” 

But Newport also said the talk of a Democratic shift toward socialism has been overstated and that aside from Ocasio-Cortez, most socialist candidates lost in this year’s Democratic primaries. 

Overall, a majority (56 percent) of Americans still have a positive view of capitalism. What’s more, 92 percent of Americans have a positive view of small businesses, 86 percent have a positive view of entrepreneurs, 79 percent have a positive view of free enterprise and 53 percent have a positive view of “big business.” 

Overall, only 37 percent of Americans have a positive view of socialism. 

The poll was conducted from July 30 to Aug. 5, 2018, among a random sample of 1,505 adults. Gallup said the margin of error was 3 plus or minus three percent. The poll did not define either socialism or capitalism for the respondents. 


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