NBC/WSJ poll: Socialism is box office poison, you know

NBC/WSJ poll: Socialism is box office poison, you know

Yeah, of course we know that. Now go tell it to the Democrats. A new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll out yesterday shows that Americans might have their complaints about economic unfairness, but they overwhelmingly see capitalism as the solution rather than the problem. Or at the very least, they overwhelmingly believe socialism isn’t the solution:

Fifty-two percent of all voters say they have a positive view of capitalism, versus 18 percent who have a negative opinion.

The numbers are reversed for socialism, with 53 percent having a negative view and 19 percent a positive one.

Unfortunately, NBC’s report doesn’t give any access to the crosstabs on this point. The Wall Street Journal’s report doesn’t even mention the outcome on this question at all, sticking instead with the polling on Donald Trump’s impeachment and the 2020 horse race, which we’ll get to in a moment. This is more significant, however, as it speaks to a more fundamental question about the horse race in 2020 and the choice that voters will have to make in it. If Democrats think America’s ready for a socialist president, they’re about to be very unpleasantly surprised.

Nominating a socialist?  That’s another story:

Democratic primary voters have a net-positive impression of socialism (40 percent positive, 23 percent negative), and Dem voters ages 18-34 view it even more favorably (51 percent to 14 percent).

But key general-election groups like independents (-45 net rating), suburban voters and swing-state voters have a much more negative impression of socialism.

The crosstabs on these points and on regional demos would have been interesting indeed. At least NBC pointed them out to us, and perhaps Democrats should pay the most attention to them. They won a House majority by taking back districts in both suburbs and swing states on the promise to legislate from a more centrist position. Nominating a socialist for president is likely to scare those voters off, and not just in the presidential election.

That may explain why the DNC, in what’s transparently a panic move, is changing its debate rules to get Mike Bloomberg on the stage as Bernie Sanders soars. His socialist and quasi-socialist following has screamed “rigged!” at those changes, and not without reason. However, after a season of class warfare and demands for socialized everything from their gaggle of lifetime politicians, the DNC needs a capitalist on stage. Unfortunately, as Nick Gillespie wrote at Reason, Bloomberg doesn’t seem interested in talking about capitalism:

So I looked forward to seeing him spar with Warren and Sanders on economic issues, mock Joe Biden for never having worked in the private sector, and dismiss Mayor Pete for his unaccomplished tenure in a city whose population is less than New York’s was in 1810. As befits somebody who made his mint in New York, Bloomberg is blunt, mean, and nasty and I caught myself daydreaming about the debates he might have with Donald Trump, whom he calls “a failed businessman whose companies went bankrupt multiple times.”

But that Super Bowl ad kills whatever minor buzz he gave me. This is how he chooses to intro himself to the voting public? …

The story told in Bloomberg’s Super Bowl ad is moving and sad, but I simply don’t understand why the billionaire would focus on the issue of gun violence in such a high-profile setting. In its way, it’s as off-kilter as Donald Trump’s insistence during the 2016 campaign that violent crime was somehow out of control. Perhaps Bloomberg is trying to signal loud and clear to Democratic primary voters that despite his past affiliations as a Republican and an independent, he is in synch with Democratic fixations and policy priorities.

Maybe the “George” ad will in fact help seal the deal with Democrats, but it leaves me and, I suspect, other independent voters wondering just how different he is from other candidates who are already in the race. I would have much rather seen a commercial that explained how Bloomberg would draw on his business experience and success as mayor of the largest city in the country to grow the economy, tackle looming entitlement cataclysms, and reduce culture-war battles.

That doesn’t surprise me at all. Gun control has been Bloomberg’s Great Cause since his days at Gracie Mansion, and it’s his bid to get the Left to forgive his capitalist past. (As well as his stop-and-frisk past.) Unfortunately for Democrats, gun control isn’t much more popular than socialism in the same neighborhoods as this poll result highlights.

What about the rest of the survey? As it turns out, impeachment didn’t do much damage to Donald Trump, nor did it change the horse-race elements much ahead of the 2020 caucus:

President Trump is emerging from the four-month impeachment process with little sign of damage to his political standing, even though a majority of voters believes he carried out the acts that House Democrats charge in their articles of impeachment, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds.

Some 46% of voters in the survey said the Senate should remove Mr. Trump from office at the end of the impeachment trial, while 49% said he should serve out his term. …

A separate measure found that while half of the country holds a negative overall view of Mr. Trump, 43% of voters view him favorably—the largest share since his first month in office.

Moreover, Mr. Trump has gained ground in test match-ups against Democratic candidates, though he still trails his three leading potential rivals.

Those results are similar to what the Washington Post/ABC poll found last week. If anything, impeachment has given Trump some momentum, perhaps as his base rallies to him. The Democrats’ endorsement of socialism will push everyone else into his corner by November, especially if they ask voters to feel the Bern on election day.

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