A new Gallup survey showing most Americans would not be willing to vote for a socialist also revealed that an overwhelming majority of Democratic voters said they would back a candidate like Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is leading in national polls.
More than three-quarters of Democratic voters surveyed—76%—told Gallup they would support a presidential candidate who identified as a socialist.
A large chunk of independent voters said they would back such a candidate, with 45% saying so, while only 17% of Republicans reported the same. Overall, 45% of 1,033 respondents said they would back a socialist in the poll, which had a margin of error of four percentage points.
The poll was released Tuesday as voters in New Hampshire head to the polls, a day after Sanders and one of his most high-profile surrogates, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), rallied more than 7,500 voters in Durham, New Hampshire.
Both politicians identify as democratic socialists and promote a vision of the U.S. which would more closely resemble other wealthy countries such as Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. Residents of those Nordic nations benefit from government-run healthcare which is free at the point of delivery and which has been shown to have better health outcomes for the population; public college that is tuition-free or nearly free; and robust labor protections including guaranteed paid family leave, vacation time, and unions.
"We're moving forward," Ocasio-Cortez said. "We're moving forward to a multiracial democracy, forward to guaranteed healthcare, forward to a living wage, for fighting for our neighbors."
"As someone who has been told to go back, imma tell you, we're moving forward.
Forward to a multiracial democracy
Forward to guaranteed healthcare
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Forward to a living wage
Forward to fighting for our neighbors
— People for Bernie (@People4Bernie) February 11, 2020
Headlines regarding the survey suggested it had dire implications for a socialist candidate in the 2020 election, despite the fact that the majority of respondents with negative feelings about socialism would be less likely to support any Democratic candidate than the Democratic respondents.
As Common Dreams reported last October, an annual poll regarding attitudes about socialism revealed why Democratic voters aren't fearful of the word, despite fear-mongering by the corporate media and President Donald Trump about socialist countries.
"When Americans—especially millennials—think of 'socialism,' they primarily think about Bernie Sanders, Western European democracies, income equality, and access to healthcare," acknowledged the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation of the poll, which showed that 70% of U.S. millennials would back a socialist for president. "They also do not associate socialism with communism and authoritarianism."