It's Something to Build On: Socialism Viewed Positively by 36% of Americans

by
Craig Brown

A new Gallup poll is out:

PRINCETON, NJ -- More than one-third of Americans (36%) have a positive image of "socialism," while 58% have a negative image. Views differ by party and ideology, with a majority of Democrats and liberals saying they have a positive view of socialism, compared to a minority of Republicans and conservatives.

"Socialism" was one of seven terms included in a Jan. 26-27 Gallup poll. Americans were asked to indicate whether their top-of-mind reactions to each were positive or negative. Respondents were not given explanations or descriptions of the terms.

Americans are almost uniformly positive in their reactions to three terms: small business, free enterprise, and entrepreneurs. They are divided on big business and the federal government, with roughly as many Americans saying their view is positive as say it is negative. Americans are more positive than negative on capitalism (61% versus 33%) and more negative than positive on socialism (36% to 58%)...

...more than a third of Americans say they have a positive image of
socialism.

Exactly how Americans define "socialism" or what exactly they think
of when they hear the word is not known. The research simply measures
Americans' reactions when a survey interviewer reads the word to them --
an exercise that helps shed light on connotations associated with this
frequently used term.

There are significant differences in reactions to "socialism" across
ideological and partisan groups:


  • A majority of 53% of Democrats
    have a positive image of socialism, compared to 17% of Republicans.
  • Sixty-one percent of liberals say their image of socialism is positive, compared to 39% of moderates and 20% of conservatives.

More here from Gallup.

(Cartoon provided by Matt Wuerker. Matt has been POLITICO's editorial cartoonist and illustrator since their launch. In 2009, he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in editorial cartooning. Over the past 25 years, his work has appeared in publications ranging from The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and The New York Times to Smithsonian and the Nation, among many others.)

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