Sixty percent (60%) of voters nationwide believe that Socialism represents a threat to America’s founding ideals of freedom, equality, and self-governance. A ScottRasmussen.com survey found that 53% also see populism as a threat to those ideals. Thirty-eight percent (38%) say that’s true of capitalism and 29% see free markets as a threat to those values.
For a small minority of the population, threatening America’s values is part of the appeal of Socialism. Thirteen percent (13%) of all voters have both a favorable opinion of Socialism and see it as a threat to American values.
The survey also found that just 28% of voters see Socialism as primarily an economic ideology. Seventy-two percent (72%) see it as more concerned with other societal issues. The numbers are the same for Populism. However, voters overwhelmingly view capitalism and free markets as primarily an economic ideology (see question wording and crosstab results).
These differing perspectives help explain what some see as a strange disconnect in perceptions of Socialism today. Among American voters who have a favorable opinion of that ideology, 82% also favor free markets. However, it should be noted that most (61%) who like free markets do not like Socialism.
Among those who like Socialism, just 32% believe it leads to higher taxes and more government control. In fact, 56% of them think that higher taxes hurt the economy and 50% believe more deficit spending is bad for the economy. When it comes to the question of cutting government spending, those who like Socialism are evenly divided as to whether it helps or hurts the economy.
This is the latest in a series of surveys showing that the growing popular support of Socialism in America today has little to do with the historic understanding of that ideology. What fans of Socialism in America today is different from what political leaders like Senator Bernie Sanders have in mind when using the term.
We also provide daily updates on the president’s job approval and the generic congressional ballot. It’s all part of our mission to enhance the public dialogue through data-driven analysis that explores the underlying currents of public opinion (read About Us).
The national survey of 1,003 Registered Voters was conducted February 9-10, 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).