A new Pew poll documents the sharp partisan divide over socialism as Democratic presidential candidates move the party further to the left ahead of the 2020 election.
The same poll, conducted April 29-May 13, shows why Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a self-described democratic socialist, and other 2020 Democratic candidates maintain popularity while vowing to eliminate private health insurance.
Pew found 65 percent of Democrats have a positive view of socialism, although just 14 percent have a very positive view.
Some 78 percent of Republicans and Republican leaners, meanwhile, have a very or somewhat favorable view of capitalism.
But barely more than half of Democrats and Democrat leaners, 55 percent, view capitalism positively.
Malcolm speculated that some of the gap between party members may be explained by a shifting definition of socialism.
“Whereas Republicans see it as government control of the economy, many Democrats this cycle seem to talk of socialism as having more equality and equal opportunity than government-imposed control. Of course, that could just be sly political marketing,” he wrote.
Men and women, young and old
Pew found women tend to view socialism more positively than men, 46 percent to 38 percent.
And men overwhelmingly view capitalism in a more positive light than women, 76 percent to 56 percent.
Predictably, families with incomes of more than $75,000 view capitalism more positively than those with lower incomes.
Some 65 percent of blacks view capitalism favorably as do 52 percent of Hispanics.
The survey also concluded that many do not view socialism and capitalism as “either-or” terms.
While 39 percent of Americans have both a positive view of capitalism and a negative view of socialism, a quarter have positive views of both terms and 17 percent express negative opinions about both, Pew said.
Among young people ages 18-29, 52 percent have a positive view of capitalism while 50 percent have a positive view of socialism.
In contrast, among Americans 65 and older, 76 have a positive view of capitalism and only 34 percent have a favorable view of socialism.