Free College Education, Universal Basic Income, Seen as Socialist Programs

Fifty-eight percent (58%) of voters believe that free college education for all is a socialist program. A national survey found that 20% disagree and 22% are not sure.

The survey also found that most voters (52%) believe providing every American with $1,000 a month is socialist. Just 19% do not see the idea of Universal Basic Income as socialist. In both cases, older voters are more likely than younger voters to see these programs as socialist (see crosstab results).

By a 47% to 24% margin, voters see banning private health insurance programs as socialist. Government ownership of Oil Companies is seen as socialist by a 45% to 26% margin. Thirty-nine percent (39%) see breaking up big tech companies as socialist while 28% disagree.

Opinion is fairly evenly divided as to whether outlawing religion (37% yes, 36% no), Social Security (39% yes, 39% no), and Medicare (41% yes, 36% no) are socialist. On each of these topics, there is a huge generation gap. Older voters tend to see outlawing religion as socialist while younger voters do not. The reverse is true with Social Security and Medicare: younger voters tend to see them as socialist while older voters disagree.

Social Security and Medicare were originally sold to the public as the rough equivalent of private insurance programs. People would pay into them during their working lives, the money would be put in a Trust Fund, and then people would receive benefits in retirement. In recent decades, the public has become more aware that the Trust Fund is a sham and that all the money goes into the government’s general fund.

Finally, by a 40% to 32% margin, voters reject the idea that Unemployment Insurance is a socialist program.

Data released earlier shows that 60% of voters believe Socialism in a threat to America’s founding ideals. Many surveys have shown that support for the term Socialism does not translate to support for Socialist policies currently being advocated (see also here and here).

While more than a third of voters nationwide have a favorable opinion of socialism, what they have in mind is far different from historical socialism. In fact, among those with a favorable view of Socialism, just 34% believe it will lead to higher taxes and more government control. Another third (33%) think it would reduce taxes and government control. Most who say they like Socialism today believe less government involvement in the economy would be good for the United States.

Forty-five percent (45%) of voters believe Socialism caused the crisis in Venezuela. Just 12% disagree.

Other data shows very limited support for government ownership of large companies, breaking up large tech companies, or providing a Universal Basic Income. releases new public opinion data every day relating to topics in the news and other items of interest. Please sign up to receive the latest data and insights each day via email.

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The national survey of 1,001 Registered Voters was conducted March 14-15, 2019 by 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 has any relationship with Rasmussen Reports® (see About Us).

Posted in Poll Results

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