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2020 poll: 77 percent of Democrats back socialism, but most voters don’t

Washington Examiner logo Washington Examiner 2/25/2019 Paul Bedard
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The Democratic Party’s lurch left to socialism has the strong support of liberal voters, but it’s a loser of an issue in the 2020 election, according to a new survey.

While 77 percent of Democrats believe that the country would be “better off” if it were more socialist, overall a majority of voters don’t, by a margin of 51 percent to 45 percent, according to the latest Public Opinion Strategies survey.

The issue was thrust into the 2020 debate by President Trump who said in his State of the Union Address, “America will never be a socialist country.”

Since then, potential 2020 Democratic presidential candidates have been struggling with their plans to provide the types of free services like healthcare and education common in socialist nations. Some, like former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, have warned that the country can’t afford the free services.

The new poll found that key swing groups both sides need in the 2020 election are not supportive of socialism.

“Significant majorities of key 2020 swing voter groups like white suburban women (40 percent agree/57 percent disagree), voters in key ’20 presidential states (42 percent agree/54 percent disagree) and suburban voters (41 percent agree/56 percent disagree) all disagree with this statement,” said analysis from Public Opinion Strategies Partner Neil Newhouse.

The survey asked 800 registered voters to judge this statement: “The country would be better off if our political and economic systems were more socialist, including taxing the wealthy more to pay for social programs, nationalizing health care so that it’s government-run and redistributing wealth.”

Democratic support for socialism appears deep. Newhouse found, for example, that 80 percent of “strong Democrats” believe the country would be better off politically and economically if it were more socialist.

The pollster’s memo said, “Potential Democratic primary voters are even stronger in their agreement with this statement. ‘Strong’’ Democrats (representing 22 percent of the electorate) agree with the statement by 80 percent-17 percent, with a majority (54 percent) strongly agreeing.”

Other key takeaways from the Newhouse analysis on socialism:

  • The partisan gap on this question is more like a chasm. Democrats agree with the notion that the country would be better off if our political and economic systems were more socialist by a whopping 77 percent to 19 percent margin, while Republicans (14 percent to 83 percent) and Independents (37 percent to 56 percent) strongly disagree.
  • Voter intensity is on the ‘disagree’ side — 23 percent of voters strongly agree with this statement while 41 percent strongly disagree. There is a wide generational divide on this question, with younger voters (under age 45) agreeing with the statement by a 53 percent to 40 percent margin, and older voters disagreeing by 60 percent to 38 percent.
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