Socialism popularity rises but capitalism still favored: Fox News Poll

Capitalism remains far more popular

As some Democratic candidates – most notably self-described democratic socialist Bernie Sanders – advocate for fundamental change to the country’s economic system, the latest Fox News poll finds an uptick in favorable views of socialism. Capitalism, however, remains far more popular.

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The poll, released Tuesday, finds 31 percent of voters view socialism favorably, up 6 percentage points since February (the first time the question was asked).

Despite the rise, a 53 percent majority views socialism negatively, down from 59 percent earlier.

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Voters still like capitalism more: 57 percent favorable vs. 27 percent unfavorable.  That’s almost exactly where views stood in February (57-28 percent).

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Views among partisans

Positive views of socialism are up 8 points among Democrats and now stand at 51 percent -- putting it on par with their favorable views of capitalism (51 percent).

On the other hand, Republicans are almost five times more likely to have a positive view of capitalism (69 percent) than socialism (14 percent).

Independents are clear on their dislike for socialism (16 percent favorable vs. 53 percent unfavorable).  They are more divided on capitalism:  44 percent favorable, 28 percent unfavorable, and 28 percent can’t say one way or the other.

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Views among groups

Socialism’s popularity is up across many groups, but the shift comes mainly from men (+14 points), black voters (+13), and self-described very liberals (+12).

Those with household incomes over $100,000 are now as likely as those earning less than $100,000 to hold favorable views of socialism (32 percent each).

“There are two sides to this equation. First, while a majority is favorable to capitalism, a sizable minority is not. It isn’t working out for them, especially younger voters,” says Democratic pollster Chris Anderson, who conducts the Fox News Poll with Republican Daron Shaw.

“Meanwhile, presidential candidates are advocating popular policies that are being labeled socialist, which is increasing favorable views towards socialism.”

While views on socialism split among millennials (41 favorable-41 unfavorable), they are more likely than Gen Xers (31-54) and baby boomers (24-61) to find it agreeable.

Capitalism finds some of the warmest welcome among very conservatives (72 percent favorable-14 percent unfavorable), men (70-22 percent), baby boomers (63-24 percent) and Gen Xers (59-24 percent).

Millennials view capitalism more favorably than unfavorably by 11 points (47 percent favorable-36 percent unfavorable).

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Conducted December 8-11, 2019 under the joint direction of Beacon Research (D) and Shaw & Company (R), this Fox News Poll includes interviews with 1,000 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide who spoke with live interviewers on both landlines and cellphones.  The poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points for all registered voters.

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