A new poll conducted by the Maru/Blue data firm in conjunction with BuzzFeed News shows that nearly half of millennial Democrats — 48 percent — identify as either socialists or democratic socialists, and another 22 percent say that while they don't identify as either, they "need to learn more."
What are the details?
The poll surveyed more than 1,000 randomly selected people between the ages of 22 and 37, and was conducted Sept. 21-24. Respondents were asked questions about their views on the past and current political climate, candidates, issues and media consumption habits.
When asked, "Would you call yourself a democratic socialist, a socialist or neither?" 28 percent of Democrats said they are democratic socialists, 11 percent identify as socialists, and another eight percent said they'd answer to either one. (The net total was rounded up to 48 percent by researchers.)
Another 22 percent of millennial Dems said they identify "neither" as a democratic socialist or socialist, "but [they] need to learn more."
The survey did not provide a definition for socialism or democratic socialism, but former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) — who identifies as the latter — told Time in 2015 that democratic socialism isn't based on Marxism and doesn't seek to do away with the free market.
"I don't believe government should own the means of production," Sanders said, "but I do believe that the middle class and the working families who produce the wealth of America deserve a fair deal."
Sanders ran on a platform that promotes initiatives such as single-payer health care, free college for all, and raising both the minimum wage and income taxes. He was the most popular presidential candidate among 18-29-year-olds in 2016, so much so that Harvard pollster Della Volpe told The Washington Post of the senator, "He's not moving a party to the left. He's moving a generation to the left."
Only 10 percent of millennial Democrats surveyed said that Sanders' 2016 presidential campaign has pushed the party too far to the left, compared to 32 percent of millennial Republicans. Forty-five percent of young Democrats responded that since that election, they had either participated in a protest or demonstration, or planned to do so. Thirty-one percent of young Republicans confirmed their participation or planned participation in a protest or demonstration.
On Thursday, The Hill cited the survey and noted that it "comes just weeks ahead of the midterm elections, where a number of democratic socialist candidates have garnered national attention."
The Daily Beast reported in June that the Democratic Socialists of America saw its membership numbers soar after one of its own won a primary race against an establishment incumbent. The day following candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's win over Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY), DSA was flooded with 1,152 new sign-ups, which is 35 times more than average.
Ocasio-Cortez was a campaign organizer for Sanders' 2016 presidential run, and is a former aide to the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.).