Forty-two percent (42%) of Americans have at least a somewhat favorable view of Socialism. A ScottRasmussen.com national survey found that 59% have an unfavorable opinion.
Those numbers include 10% with a Very Favorable opinion and 30% with a Very Unfavorable view (see question wording and topline results).
Younger and non-white voters are more likely than others to have a favorable opinion of Socialism. Sixty-two percent (62%) of Democrats have a positive view of Socialism along with 39% of Independents and 20% of Republicans (see crosstabs).
This national survey of 1,000 Registered Voters was conducted August 19-20, 2018 for ScottRasmussen.com by HarrisX, a leading research company specializing in online surveys (see Methodology and the Demographic profile of our sample).
However, the survey also found that most of those with a favorable attitude towards Socialism do not view the ideology as it has been understood historically. For example, most (58%) who have a positive view of Socialism do not believe it involves a more powerful government and higher taxes. Most of them (55%) also don’t think it means a system where the government owns most or all of the nation’s major businesses.
Overall, among the general population, most voters do believe that these are attributes of Socialism. And, by those definitions, the ideology remains unpopular. Among those who believe that Socialism means a system where the government owns most or all of the nation’s major businesses, 26% have a favorable opinion of it and 74% an unfavorable view. Those figures include 8% with a Very Favorable opinion of Socialism and 47% with a Very Unfavorable view.
Looking again at the overall population, just 19% of voters have a favorable opinion of Socialism and believe that Socialism will lead to a more powerful government with higher taxes. Just 17% have a favorable opinion of Socialism and believe that Socialism means a system where the government owns most or all of the nation’s major businesses.
Instead of the traditional understanding, most U.S. supporters of Socialism today believe that the term means a system where workers and local communities manage their businesses (71%). They also believe that Socialism provides more equality of income and concern for the poor (72%). It is likely that these positive associations are providing more favorable views of the term Socialism, rather than a desire for a particular ideology.
Most who view Socialism unfavorably reject the notion that these positive attributes define Socialism. Seventy-one percent (71%) believe that Socialism is not a system where workers and local communities manage their businesses. Sixty-four percent (64%) say it does not provide more equality of income and concern for the poor.
Those who oppose the ideology understand it in a more traditional sense: 76% believe it involves a more powerful government and higher taxes. Seventy-four percent (74%) think it means a system where the government owns most or all of the nation’s major businesses.
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On a related topic, 67% of voters believe that income inequality is a big problem in America. They overwhelmingly believe that it should be solved by increasing the wealth of poorer Americans.
Our research has shown the disconnect between the politically obsessed and most Americans. Additionally, 83% of voters recognize that tech titans have a bigger impact on the nation than presidents.
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Neither Scott Rasmussen nor ScottRasmussen.com has any relationship with Rasmussen Reports® (see About Us).