These results also show a roughly eight percent increase from sentiments in 2018, where 57 percent of Democrats and Democrat-leaners expressed a positive view of socialism. When examined over a longer period from 2010 to 2019, nearly 12 percent more Democrats and Democrat-leaners claim to have a more positive view of socialism.
Based on gender, race, and age, those who were women (46 percent), black (65 percent), and aged 18 to 29 (50 percent) had the highest likelihood of favoring socialism in the 2019 polls. Those with postgraduate degrees (48 percent) expressed the greatest sympathy for socialism among different educational levels.
With regards to the term “capitalism” in 2019, 55 percent of Democrats and Democrat-leaners still maintain a favorable view of it. In fact, this also shows a noticeable spike given that only 47 percent of Democrats and Democrat-leaners had a favorable view of capitalism in 2018.
Despite the majority support of capitalism, Democrats continue to have a more positive view of socialism compared to capitalism overall in 2019, as they did in 2018.
The poll by Pew Research Center did not define the terms “socialism” and “capitalism.” Regardless, it appears that Americans overall have a sense for what socialism is. In a Harris poll in 2018, large majorities of Americans responded that “universal healthcare” (76 percent), “tuition-free education” (72 percent), “living wages” (68 percent), and “state-controlled economies” (66 percent) are all hallmarks of socialism.
Demonstrating yet again how different the Democratic presidential candidates are from their base, Senator Bernie Sanders is the only Democratic presidential candidate describing himself as some form of socialist.
In contrast, Senator Elizabeth Warren clarified that she is not a democratic socialist; Senator Cory Booker has explicitly stated, “I am not a socialist.” Having been booed for his distaste of socialism, former Governor John Hickenlooper protested, “Democrats must say loudly and clearly that we are not socialists.”