Democrats More Positive on Socialism than Capitalism

August 13, 2018 Updated: October 5, 2018

American Democrats have a more positive view of socialism than of capitalism, a Gallup poll has shown. It was the first time Gallup came to such a result since 2010, when it started to ask the question.

Of Democrats and those leaning Democrat, 57 percent held a positive view of socialism, while 47 percent held the same attitude toward capitalism. In 2010, the results were 53 percent positive toward both. In 2016, 58 percent were positive toward socialism versus 56 percent toward capitalism, but that difference was statistically insignificant because the poll has a 3 percent margin of sampling error.

Among Republicans, 71 percent were positive toward capitalism and a mere 16 percent toward socialism, similar numbers as in 2010.

“Views of socialism among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents are particularly important in the current political environment because many observers have claimed the Democratic Party is turning in more of a socialist direction,” said Frank Newport, Gallup editor-in-chief., in an Aug. 13 release.

He noted that democratic socialist Bernie Sanders “competitively challenged” Hillary Clinton for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, won the Democratic nomination in New York’s 14th Congressional District.

However, a majority of the progressive candidates Ocasio-Cortez endorsed lost their primary bids on Aug. 7, “raising doubts about the depth of Democrats’ embrace of socialism,” Newport said.

Americans in general largely don’t subscribe to socialism, with 37 percent holding a positive view of it. The shift of Democrats away from capitalism, however, made a dent in Americans’ support of it in general. While 56 percent of Americans held a positive view of capitalism in the latest poll, that is down from 60 percent in 2016.

Socialism is “collective ownership of the means of production,” which has historically translated into state control of healthcare, education, industry, media, land, natural resources, and various aspects of human life. Prominent socialists have promoted it as a transition phase toward the more dystopian concept of communism.

The poll was conducted among 1,505 adults, aged 18 and older, between July 30 and Aug. 5.

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Communism has caused the deaths of more than 100 million people over the last century through famine, political killings, and genocide.

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