Large Percentage of Democrats Think Socialism Didn’t ‘Really’ Get a Chance to Succeed, Poll Shows

March 29, 2019 Updated: March 29, 2019

Democrat voters are more likely to think of socialism as a system that “didn’t get a chance to succeed” rather than one that has failed, according to a recent Rasmussen poll.

Forty-four percent of likely Democrat voters agreed more with the characterization that socialism “has never really been given the chance to succeed,” while 35 percent picked the answer that “it is an economic and political system that has failed in the past.” More than a fifth, 21 percent, were undecided.

Democrats have long held a majority or near-majority positive view of socialism, polls have shown. In 2018, 57 percent of Democrats and those leaning Democrat had a positive view of socialism compared to 53 percent in 2010, Gallup reported. Among Republicans, on the other hand, only 16 percent viewed socialism positively in 2018, virtually unchanged from the 17 percent in 2010.

A February 2019 Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll showed that 49 percent of registered Democrat voters said the American economy should be “mostly socialist,” while 64 percent of registered voters at large said they believed the Democratic Party backs a socialist system, The Hill reported.

The results, however, also depends on who is asking whom, and how. A February Fox News Poll, showed only 43 percent of registered Democrat voters had a favorable view of socialism.

The poll also showed that only 25 percent of moderates had a positive view of socialism, making the issue a non-starter in general elections.

That could explain why most of the Democrats running for president in 2020 are going out of their way to clarify that they are not socialists, despite at least four of the leading candidates running on platforms largely consisting of socialist policies.

Trump Call

President Donald Trump has taken many an opportunity to condemn socialism, declaring in his 2019 State of the Union address that “America will never become a socialist country.”

In February, he said that “the twilight hour of socialism has arrived in our hemisphere and, frankly, in many, many places around the world.”

Vice President Mike Pence called the 2020 presidential election a choice between “freedom and socialism,” during his March 1 CPAC speech.

Trump further pointed out the overlap of Democrats with socialist policies in his CPAC speech the day after.

“Democratic lawmakers are now embracing socialism, they want to replace individual rights with total government domination,” he said. “Socialism is not about the environment. It’s not about justice. It’s not about virtue. Socialism is about only one thing—it’s called power for the ruling class.”

Attempts at Socialism

The idea that socialism “has never really been given the chance to succeed” is one of the most common arguments of contemporary socialists, who usually dismiss the self-identified socialist past and/or present governments and states of, among others, China, Cuba, Laos, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Algeria, Belarus, Bulgaria, Burma, Cambodia, Congo, former Czechoslovakia, Ethiopia, East Germany, Hungary, North Korea, Mongolia, Mozambique, Poland, Romania, Somalia, Russia, Ukraine, South Yemen, former Yugoslavia, Egypt, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Iraq, Nicaragua, Uruguay, El Salvador, and, in recent years, Venezuela, as not really putting in place “real socialism.”

Follow Petr on Twitter: @petrsvab