Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Capitalism vs. Socialism: Big Surprise in New Polls
Capitalism: Big Surprises in Recent Polls
A new Pew Poll shows widespread skepticism about capitalism and hints that support for socialist alternatives is emerging as a majoritarian force in America’s new generation.
Carried out in late April and published May 4, 2010, the Pew poll, asked over 1500 randomly selected Americans to describe their reactions to terms such as “capitalism,” “socialism,” “progressive,” “libertarian” and “militia.” The most striking findings concern “capitalism” and “socialism.”
Pew summarizes the results in its poll title: “Socialism not so negative; capitalism not so positive.”
“Capitalism” is still viewed positively by a majority of Americans. But it is just by a bare majority. Only 52% of all Americans react positively. Thirty-seven percent say they have a negative reaction and the rest aren’t sure.
A year ago, a Rasmussen poll found similar reactions. Then, only 53% of Americans described capitalism as “superior” to socialism.
Meanwhile, 29% in the Pew poll describe “socialism” as positive. This positive percent soars much higher when you look at key sub-groups, as discussed shortly. A 2010 Gallup poll found 37% of all Americans preferring socialism as “superior” to capitalism.
Contrary to popular belief, this is not a “Center-Right” country but a populace where almost 50% are deeply ambivalent or clearly opposed to capitalism.
More interesting, in the Pew poll, just 43% of Americans under 30 describe “capitalism” as positive. Even more striking, the same percentage, 43%, describes “socialism” as positive. In other words, the new generation is equally divided between capitalism and socialism.
The Pew, Gallup and Rasmussen polls come to the same conclusion. Young people cannot be characterized as a capitalist generation. They are half capitalist and half socialist. Since the socialist leaning keeps rising among the young, it suggests—depending on how you interpret “socialism”—that we are moving toward an America that is either Center-Left or actually majoritarian socialist.