A Gallup survey released this week is sure to spark some partisan debate. The post-election study found that more than half of Democrats and left-leaning Americans (53 percent) have a positive view of socialism. This is almost identical to the proportion of left-of-center individuals who respond favorably to capitalism (55 percent).
These findings are particularly striking, especially when compared to Republicans’ views on these economic systems. While 72 percent of right-of-center Americans have a favorable opinion of capitalism, only 23 percent share similar sentiments when it comes to socialism.
Many Republicans have dubbed modern-day Democrats “socialists,” a title that is often-times rejected by liberal Americans. While 53 percent certainly doesn’t constitute the entire party, it’s likely that these results will ignite further controversy and renewed claims that liberal Americans have a greater penchant for embracing income redistribution and socialistic tendencies.
On other issues, too, the differences are stark. When it comes to views about big business, 75 percent of Republican and GOP-leaning Americans have a positive image; only 44 percent of Democrats and left-of-center individuals share the same ideal. However, both Republicans (95 percent) and Democrats (94 percent) hold strongly-positive views about small businesses.
Another large-scale issue is the term “the federal government.” While only 27 percent of Republicans react favorably to it, 75 percent of Democrats do. Based on these findings, Gallup summarizes the results as they pertain to the current sociopolitical climate as follows:
The differences between Democrats and Republicans in how they view these terms provide an important window into today’s political realities. Democrats have a more positive image of the federal government than they do of capitalism, by a 20-percentage-point margin, while Republicans are more positive about capitalism than the federal government, by a 45-point margin. This difference is not surprising — particularly given that a Democrat currently occupies the White House — but underscores the divergence in the ways in which Republicans and Democrats look at the appropriate role of the government in relationship to business.
These responses were collected from Nov. 18-19. Respondents were asked, “Would you say you have a positive view or a negative view of the following?” Then, they were presented with seven economic indicators and issues (as seen in the above table).
A random sample of 1,040 American adults ages 18 and older were consulted for the completion of this study. The maximum margin of sampling error is +/-4 percentage points.