Support for socialism gaining traction in US, poll suggests

Share of Americans with positive view of capitalism declined from 61 per cent in 2019 to 57 per cent this year

Chantal Da Silva
Monday 28 June 2021 15:21
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<p>People walk past the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), 13 September, 2016 in New York City. </p>

People walk past the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), 13 September, 2016 in New York City.

Support for socialism appears to be growing in the US, while faith in capitalism has faltered somewhat in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, a new poll suggests.

In the Axios/Momentive poll, which saw 2,309 people in the US surveyed between 11 and 15 June, socialism, 41 per cent of all adults said they viewed socialism positively, rising from 39 per cent in 2019.

Much of the rise, Axios reported, appeared to be driven by Black Americans and women, with socialism having positive connotations for 60 per cent of Black Americans and 45 per cent of American women.

Meanwhile, the share of Americans with a positive view of capitalism has declined from 61 per cent in 2019 to 57 per cent this year, while the portion of those with a negative view of capitalism remained the same at 36 per cent.

According to the poll’s findings, young adults’ perceptions of capitalism have played a major role in driving the decline, with 18 to 34 year olds almost evenly split between those who see capitalism in a positive light and those who view it negatively at 49 per cent and 46 per cent respectively.

In 2019, 58 per cent of people in the same age group viewed capitalism positively compared with 38 per cent who had a negative outlook of the system.

Positive views of capitalism among Republicans and GOP-leaners between the ages of 18 to 34 also saw a significant drop, with just 66 per cent of the group expressing those sentiments this year compared with 81 per cent in 2019.

Overall, the study found that 66 per cent of people were in favour of the idea of the federal government pursuing policies aimed at reducing disparities between the wealthy and less well-off in the US, representing a rise from 62 per cent in 2019.

Speaking with Axios, Jon Cohen, the chief research officer for Momentive, identified the coronavirus pandemic as a driving factor in shaping people’s views on the economy and politics.

“The pandemic is sure to have lasting impact for decades to come,” Mr Cohen said.

Among those polled, “jobs and the economy” were identified as the top concern for people in the US, with 32 per cent identifying jobs and the economy as the issue that matters most to them.

Following jobs and the economy was health care at 18 per cent and the environment at 11 per cent.

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