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Democrats, Young Voters Attracted By Socialism

Democrats are far less convinced than Republicans and unaffiliated voters that a free-market system is superior to a socialist one and are much more willing to vote for a socialist candidate. Those under 40 are a lot more responsive to the siren call of socialism than older voters are.

A new Heartland Institute and Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 69% of all Likely U.S. Voters rate a free-market economic system as better than socialism. Just 12% think socialism is a better economic system, but 18% are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

A closer look, however, finds that while 87% of Republicans and 69% of voters not affiliated with either major party see a free-market system as better, just 53% of Democrats agree. Twenty-one percent (21%) of Democrats like socialism better, with a sizable 25% not sure.

Forty-one percent (41%) of Democrats say they would vote for a presidential candidate who identifies himself or herself as a socialist, but only 19% of GOP voters and 16% of unaffiliateds agree.

Among all voters, 26% would vote for a self-identified socialist presidential candidate; 50% would not, while 24% are undecided.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted November 13-14, 2019 by the Heartland Institute and Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Economic and consumer confidence have soared to record highs since Donald Trump’s election as president in November 2016.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, the avowed socialist who is seeking the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, is seen favorably by 47% of all voters, including 18% who have a Very Favorable opinion of him.

Forty-two percent (42%) have a favorable view of Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts senator and Democratic hopeful whose big government proposals are viewed as socialist by some opponents, with 17% who view her Very Favorably.

But among voters who say they would vote for a socialist presidential candidate, 84% have a favorable opinion of Sanders, and 80% say the same of Warren.

Sanders has consistently outpolled his Democratic presidential rivals among voters under 40, although former Vice President Joe Biden continues to lead the pack among all voters nationally.

Younger voters are more than twice as likely as those 40 and over to think socialism is better than a free-market economic system. Forty-two percent (42%) of those ages 18 to 39 say they would vote for a socialist presidential candidate, compared to 18% of middle-aged voters and 15% of senior citizens.

Fifty-eight percent (58%) of all voters rate the current U.S. economy as good or excellent.

In surveying earlier this year, 44% of Democrats said socialism hasn’t been given a fair chance to succeed.

Forty-seven percent (47%) of Democrats had a favorable opinion of socialism in January, but 29% of these voters also incorrectly believed that the individual has more power than the government in a socialist system. Only 20% wanted their party to officially declare itself a socialist party, though.

Most voters in surveys for years have called for a smaller government with fewer services and lower taxes over a larger one with more services and higher taxes.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted November 13-14, 2019 by the Heartland Institute and Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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