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Four in 10 Americans Believe Socialism a 'Good Thing': Gallup

It's likely not a coincidence that rise in popularity across all Americans came as Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez became two of the most prominent  politicians in the U.S. 

Sen. Bernie Sanders at a campaign rally, February 2016.

Sen. Bernie Sanders is one of the leading socialist voices in the U.S. The ideology is becoming more popular among Americans. (Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Four in 10 Americans think socialism is a good thing for the United States, a shift in attitude that reflects the modern 21st century political landscape and changing social mores. 

Results from a Gallup poll released Monday show that 43 percent of U.S. adults polled from April 17-30 think socialism is a "good thing." It's likely not a coincidence that rise in popularity across all Americans came as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), both of whom identify as democratic socialists, became two of the most prominent  politicians in the U.S. 

The 43 percent number is a jump in approval of socialism by 18 percent since a poll by Roper 1942, the historical date used by Gallup for reference to show the country's evolving views. 

Gallup explained why they chose the 1942 date:

The Roper/Fortune survey is one of the oldest trend questions measuring attitudes on socialism in the U.S. Gallup's update of the question in an April 17-30 survey finds Americans more likely to have an opinion on the matter now, as well as a smaller gap in the percentage calling socialism a bad thing vs. a good thing.

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The April poll also found that the number of Americans that believe socialism is a bad thing for the country increased, from 40 percent in 1942 to 51 percent today. 

The survey also found that 47 percent of Americans would vote for a socialist candidate for president—a significant statistic that was one example of a few that show the changing social norms in the U.S.:

The April survey found that 47 percent of Americans say they would vote for a socialist candidate for president. While that figure represents nearly half of the U.S. adult population, even higher percentages say they would vote for an atheist (58 percent) or Muslim (60 percent) presidential candidate.

Polling from Gallup in the last decade has consistently found that a majority of Democrats have a positive view of socialism. That view has been paired with declining popularity of capitalism from the party faithful over the last few years. 

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