Americans still prefer capitalism, poll finds

 February 20, 2023

It may be hard to tell from the current leadership in Washington, but Americans still prefer capitalism over socialism, a new poll found.

67 percent of Americans prefer capitalism, the Rassmussen survey found, representing a two-point increase since the early months of Joe Biden's presidency.

Americans still prefer capitalism

Meanwhile, 17 percent of voters said they prefer socialism outright -- a minority to be sure, but a significant one in a country that has long championed free enterprise.

53 percent of voters say they would not support a socialist candidate, while 28 percent said they would, and 19 percent were unsure. But many voters said America is already a socialist country in some ways.

"Twenty-eight percent (28 percent) say the U.S. economy today is at least partly socialist, including eight percent (8 percent) who say the U.S. economy is generally socialist. That’s slightly down from April 2021, when 30 percent believed the U.S. economy was at least partly socialist,” the survey found.

Majorities of Republicans, Democrats, and independents all said they preferred capitalism, although Democrats were the most supportive of socialism, with 47 percent saying they would vote for a socialist candidate.

Biden doubles down on entitlements

In 2020, Biden campaigned to the right of self-avowed socialist Bernie Sanders (Vt.), whose shocking early success in the primary led the Democratic establishment to embrace Biden as the more electable candidate.

Despite Biden's "moderate" image, he has turned to the hard left as president, embracing a racially inflected form of socialism called "equity" that allocates public resources toward certain "underprivileged" groups.

As he looks ahead to 2024, Biden has pitched himself as an FDR-like protector of the nation's safety net against Republicans bent on cutting entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare.

Republicans have pledged not touch those programs, which remain popular despite the public's antipathy to socialism.

Republicans hit Dems on socialism

While steering clear of entitlement cuts, Republicans have sought to appeal to Americans' traditional wariness of socialism with a message of fiscal responsibility heading into the 2024 cycle.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Ca.) led a messaging vote denouncing socialism recently that was rejected by 86 Democrats.

"Whereas socialist ideology necessitates a concentration of power that has time and time again collapsed into Communist regimes, totalitarian rule, and brutal dictatorships,” the resolution states.

Some Democrats complained that Republicans were conflating so-called democratic socialism with the murderous regimes of Stalin and Pol Pot.

"They're trying to tie those successful [welfare] programs ... to [former ruler of Cambodia] Pol Pot," Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wa.) said.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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