Poll: Democratic voters support socialism, nationalizing major industries

posted at 5:41 pm on February 22, 2016 by John Sexton

Maybe Newsweek was right and we’re all socialists now. At least that seems to increasingly be the case among Democrats. Perhaps it’s not surprising given how well self-described socialist Bernie Sanders is doing in the primaries, but a newly released poll finds that Democratic primary voters in every age and demographic group are fans of socialism. Politico was the first to report on the poll’s results:

Democratic voters in every age group, every gender, and every race view socialism favorably, according to the early February telephone poll of 1,000 likely Democratic primary voters fielded by Republican firm OnMessage Inc. and commissioned by AAN, which is tied to the Congressional Leadership Fund super PAC dedicated to House Republicans. And among people 45 and under — a group that has helped power Sanders’ primary performances — the ideology is preferred to capitalism by a margin of 46 percent to 19 percent.

There’s a curious divide in the results of this poll. When asked if they like socialism, 43% of Democratic primary voters say yes and 30% say no. Asked if they like capitalism 47% say yes and 30% say no. So it seems at first glance that capitalism has a slight edge. However, when asked which system of government they agree with most in a head-to-head match-up, socialism gets 40% and capitalism just 25 percent.


Socialsm vs. Capitalism

If anything, some of the later questions in the poll suggest that 40% result may be on the low side. Respondents were asked to Agree/Disagree with the following statement, “The Federal government, not the private sector, is best equipped to run, regulate, and innovate the economy in order to help every American and not just the rich and powerful.” Fifty-six percent of Democratic primary voters agreed with that statement and only 29% disagreed. When the statement was made more specific the numbers were nearly as high. Fifty-two percent of respondents agreed with the following statement: “In some cases the government should take control of certain industries such as airlines or health care to better manage them because they are too important to our whole society to leave up the private businesses.”

As worrisome as the responses to economic questions were the response to questions about freedom of the press suggest Democrats are also ready to undermine the 1st Amendment to the Constitution:

Please tell me if you agree or disagree with the following statement. Most of the media in our country is controlled by corporations who are more interested in profits than telling the truth. Before a corporate owned media entity covers a campus rally for racial equality, they should first prove that they are not biased against the content of the rally.

An overwhelming 67% of Democrats agreed with that statement while just 19% disagreed. I would love to know how respondents think this would work in real time. To whom would the media outlet have to prove their even-handedness? Will some sort of administrative law judge be assigned the task of reviewing media requests to cover campus events?

Notice that the premise of the question is a kind of class struggle analysis of the media and its financial motivations. In other words, once you believe capitalism is a corrupting influence that reasoning naturally extends itself to encompass every area of private industry, media included. If it makes sense to nationalize the airline industry why stop at regulating live shots for CNN and Fox News? Shouldn’t those greedy corporations be nationalized outright?

Democrats, at least the ones responding to the poll, seem blissfully unaware of any potential downside to having the government firmly in control of the media that is supposed to cover it. You only need to look to Venezuela, where the government runs most of the media and the economy, to see how well that can turn out.

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