Democrats have been increasing their preference of socialism over capitalism in recent years, according to a recent Gallup survey released Monday.
Both Republicans and Democrats have positive views of capitalism, though it is rated higher by Republicans, according to the survey. In the 2021 survey, 72% of Republicans and 52% of Democrats said they have a positive image of capitalism. That is about the norm since 2010.
But when it comes to socialism, 65% of Democrats say they have a positive image of the economic system, while only 14% of Republicans do.
And Democrats' opinions of socialism have risen slightly over the past few surveys. In 2010 and 2012, only 60% of Democrats gave socialism the thumbs up. Republicans have gone generally in the opposite direction.
Democrats have rated socialism more positively than capitalism since 2018, Gallup notes.
Gallup said the drop in Democrats' positive views on capitalism are possibly due to Donald Trump's presidency.
"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," according to Gallup.
The pollster also noted that although the Democratic Party talked of moving more toward socialism, candidates who hold more closely to that philosophy failed in the 2020 primaries, muting that effort. With that in mind, socialism isn't likely to play well in the 2022 midterms.
In the 1940's, the term socialism was seen more as government ownership of business, but the general public today perceives it to be "sets of programs by which the government helps regulate and in some instances run and pay for social programs focused on basic population needs in health, education, housing and employment," Gallup notes.
That might account for the switch in opinion in some minds, especially the favorable opinion among younger people,who did not live during the Cold War, versus older people .
"Whether the appeal of socialism to young adults is a standard function of idealism at that age that dissipates as one grows older, or will turn out to be a more permanent part of the political beliefs held by the cohort of millennials who have come of age over the past decade, remains to be seen," Gallup said.
The poll was conducted Oct. 1-19, and spoke to 823 adults. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.
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