Capitalism is far more popular than socialism, according to a Fox News Poll of registered voters. The poll also finds economic optimism high, and the number wanting help from the government the lowest in years.
The new poll, released Wednesday, asks what message voters want to send to the federal government. Over half would say “leave me alone.” About a third would ask Uncle Sam to “lend me a hand.”
The 34 percent saying “lend me a hand” is down from 41 percent last year and 39 percent in 2016. The 55 percent who would tell the government “leave me alone” is up from 51 percent in 2018 and 54 percent in 2016.
Fifty-seven percent of voters have a positive opinion of capitalism. That’s more than twice the number who feel the same about socialism (25 percent). Some of the groups most likely to have a favorable view of socialism include self-identified liberals (50 percent), Clinton voters (43 percent), and those under age 30 (36 percent). “Despite the prominence of socialistic ideas and policy proposals in recent weeks, Americans are favorable toward the merits of the capitalistic system,” says Republican pollster Daron Shaw, who conducts the Fox News Poll with Democrat Chris Anderson. “And they’re bullish on the state of the economy.”
Nearly four out of five voters feel their family either achieved the American Dream (38 percent), or is on the way toward achieving it (40 percent). One in five believes the dream is out of reach (18 percent).
Sixty-three percent feel optimistic about the economy. Optimism stood at 49 percent in 2016. By a 47-42 percent margin, voters think capitalism in the U.S. gives them a “fair shot.”
However, men (58 percent) are 21 points more likely than women (37 percent) to say capitalism is a level playing field. Similarly, whites (52 percent) are 19 points more likely than nonwhites (33 percent), and voters ages 45 and over (54 percent) are 17 points more inclined than those under age 45 (37 percent) to feel they are getting a fair deal.
“This is not a ringing endorsement of capitalism in our country when less than half of Americans feel they have a fair shot,” says Anderson. “If the debate over what is best for America devolves into fearmongering and labeling socialists, no one wins. But when less than half say they have a fair shot, there is clearly an opening for new policy ideas.”
Meanwhile, the number thinking Americans rely too much on government and not enough on themselves has dropped: 61 percent feel that way, down from 74 percent in 2013.
Views among partisans
By a 25-point margin, more Republicans (72 percent) than Democrats (47 percent) have a positive view of capitalism. Moreover, Republicans (54 percent) are three times as likely as Democrats (17 percent) to have a “strongly” favorable view.
More than twice as many Republicans (68 percent) as Democrats (30 percent) think the way capitalism is working is fair. Six-in-ten Democrats (60 percent) say capitalism does not give them a fair shot.
Over half of Democrats, 54 percent, would tell the government to “lend me a hand,” while most Republicans, 77 percent (joined by a 58 percent majority of independents) would say “leave me alone.”
Most Republicans, 84 percent, think Americans rely too much on government. That’s changed little since 2013 when it was 87 percent. In contrast, there has been a major shift among Democrats: 38 percent say Americans are too dependent, down from 58 percent five years ago.
-- Views split, 47-47 percent, over the U.S. implementing a government-run national health insurance program paid for through taxes. Most Democrats (75 percent) favor it, while most Republicans oppose it (77 percent). Independents split the difference: 45 favor vs. 46 oppose.
-- The tax reform law and Obamacare have both lost popularity. The tax law now has a net negative rating by a narrow two points (34 favorable vs. 36 unfavorable). More viewed it positively than negatively by 9 points in October 2018 (44-35 percent). Similar shift on the health care law. It receives a net positive rating by just two points (47-45 percent). It was at +11 points in October (53-42 percent).
The Fox News poll is based on landline and cellphone interviews with 1,004 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Beacon Research (D) (formerly named Anderson Robbins Research) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from February 10-12, 2019. The poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points for all registered voters.