Nearly 2 in 3 Democrats have favorable view of socialism: poll

Nearly 2 out of 3 Democrats have a favorable view of socialism, according to a survey of 1,700 Americans released last month by the Cato Institute, a libertarian-leaning think tank.

That's 64% of Democrats — a significantly higher percentage than the general population. Only 39% of Americans view socialism favorably, and only 13% of Republicans do.

Meanwhile, only 45% of Democrats — less than half — have a favorable view of capitalism, compared with 59% of Americans on the whole. Cato attributes Democrats' shift away from capitalism to President Trump, citing Gallup surveys showing Democrats were essentially equally favorable toward socialism and capitalism in 2010, 2012 and 2016.

Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) host a campaign rally at the Fairfield Arts and Convention Center on April 06, 2019 in Fairfield, Iowa. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

"After 2016, however, Democratic support for capitalism started to lose out to socialism. By 2018, Gallup found 57% of Democrats had a favorable view of socialism while fewer (47%) had a favorable view of capitalism," according to the survey.

Other parts of the survey inquired about Americans' attitudes toward billionaires, a favorite topic of presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, who advocates for many socialist policies.

In fact, Sanders released a sweeping plan to tax the wealth of the richest Americans on Sept. 24, the same day that Cato's survey was published.

"Billionaires should not exist," Sanders said.

However, 75% of Americans do not believe it’s immoral for society to allow people to become as wealthy as a billionaire, according to Cato's survey. Majorities of Democrats (66%), independents (73%), and Republicans (86%)  surveyed agree with the statement.