Twenty-nine percent (29%) of voters believe that socialism is a system that eliminates all, or virtually all, poverty. A ScottRasmussen.com national survey found that 71% of voters disagree.
However, while it is not seen as a way to eliminate poverty, 57% believe that socialism is a system where there is more equality of income and concern for the poor. Forty percent (40%) believe it eliminates, or virtually eliminates, all race and class differences.
These survey results are part of an ongoing study to help understand how people view Socialism in 21st century America. Data released earlier showed that contemporary American understandings of Socialism differ dramatically from the historic understanding of that ideology. Much of it appears to be driven by the fact that voters are deeply divided on the fairness of our nation’s economic system.
A majority of American voters (59%) today believe that socialism is a system where the economy is run by a group of central planners. Fifty-eight percent (58%) of all voters also define socialism as a system where the government owns all or most of a nation’s major businesses. Sixty-two percent (62%) think that socialism is a system where government planners determine how much money each worker will receive
Sixty-seven percent (67%) believe it will lead to slower economic growth. But those voters have differing views about what will result from that slower growth. Thirty-eight percent (38%) say socialism will lead to slower economic growth and a more unfair distribution of resources, while 29% say it will lead to slower economic growth but a fairer distribution of resources.
Socialism was once a taboo label among politicians of all stripes in America. But that’s changed with the rise of Democrats who either fully or partially describe themselves as socialists, mostly notably Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Many proposals advocated by such leaders have broad surface appeal related to the aspirations they articulate but limited support for the underlying proposals. Conceptually, the Green New Deal promoted by Ocasio-Cortez appeals to most Americans. However, just 30% are at all comfortable with the idea of letting the federal government transform the entire economy.
Additionally, voters like the concept of ensuring health care for all, but only 19% support Bernie Sanders’ plan to eliminate private insurance companies.
One of the more interesting dynamics we’ve found is that the vast majority of voters who say they like socialism also have a favorable opinion of free markets. That would have been unthinkable in the 20th century. We will be releasing data later this week from a survey of 7,020 voters on the demographics of those who have a favorable opinion of both socialism and free markets. We will also highlight data showing what those who like socialism think it means.
The mission of ScottRasmussen.com is to enhance the public dialogue through data-driven analysis that explores the underlying currents of public opinion (read About Us). We release new polling data daily, including updates of the president’s Job Approval Rating and the Generic Congressional Ballot.
The national survey of 1,000 Registered Voters was conducted January 10-11, 2019 by ScottRasmussen.com and HarrisX, a polling company specializing in online surveys (see Methodology). It has a 3.1 percentage point Margin of Error with a 95% level of confidence.
Neither Scott Rasmussen nor ScottRasmussen.com has any relationship with Rasmussen Reports® (see About Us).