Government employees are more likely than other workers to support socialist candidates and oppose the Second Amendment, according to a newly released poll.
A survey of likely voters conducted by the pollster Rasmussen Reports and the free-market Heartland Institute found that 69% of Americans favor capitalism over socialism, and that 50% would not vote for a self-described socialist.
Republicans and unaffiliated voters were more likely to support a free-market economic system, with 87% of Republicans and 69% of unaffiliateds favoring capitalism, while just 53% of Democrats agreed.
Not surprisingly, younger voters ages 18-39 were more likely to favor socialist candidates — but so were government workers.
The poll found “36% of respondents who said they work for the government said they would ‘vote for a presidential candidate who identifies himself or herself as a socialist,’ the highest of any employment demographic we tested,” said the analysis by Heartland research director Justin Haskins.
Only 24% of those polled overall supported repealing the Second Amendment, which guarantees the right to bear arms, but 32% of government employees backed a repeal, the highest of any employment demographic.
Government workers were more in line with other voters on legislation to ban private ownership of “assault-style rifles,” with 46% of public employees favoring such a ban and 49% of those polled overall in support.
Mr. Haskins said the government workers surveyed were more likely to be teachers or other local employees as opposed to federal staffers, given that the poll was conducted nationally, but that the results were concerning.
“I think it signifies that we have an entire class of government workers across the country that are primarily interested in dramatically expanding their own power,” he said. “It’s particularly telling that you have a very large class of people all across the country, not just in Washington, that are essentially voting and asking for dramatically more power over their communities.”
He said the other employment demographics tested were “entrepreneur,” “private company,” “retired” and “other.”
Democrats were more likely to vote for a socialist candidate at 41%, while only 19% of Republicans and 16% of unaffiliated voters said they would do so.
Interestingly, about 20% of those surveyed who said they had a “very favorable” view of Sens. Bernard Sanders, a self-described socialist, and Elizabeth Warren, who favors many of his policy prescriptions, said they would not vote for a socialist candidate.
The poll of 1,000 likely U.S. voters, conducted Nov. 13-14 and released Monday, surveyed 33% Democrats, 33% Republicans and 30% independents.