- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 20, 2022

A declining number of U.S. adults say they have positive views of socialism and capitalism, although capitalism remains more popular, according to a new poll.

The Pew Research Center reported Monday that Americans have become less bullish about both economic systems since before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pew found that 36% of adults view socialism either somewhat (30%) or very (6%) positively, down 6 percentage points from 42% in its May 2019 poll. By comparison, 57% expressed a positive view of capitalism, down 8 points from 65% three years ago.

“Much of the decline in positive views of both socialism and capitalism has been driven by shifts in views among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents,” Pew said.

The share of Democrats and Democrat-leaning independents with a positive view of socialism fell 8 points, from 65% in 2019 to 57% this year. Over the same period, the share of Democrats with a positive view of capitalism fell by 9 points, from 55% to 46%.

While more Democrats were positive about socialism than capitalism during both years, Pew noted that “fewer than half of Democrats” now express positive feelings about capitalism.

On the GOP side, the poll found little change. The share of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents with a positive view of socialism fell only 1 point from 15% to 14%. The percentage with a positive view of capitalism dropped 4 points, from 78% to 74%.

According to Pew, “partisan differences” in defining the two terms helped explain the results, with Republicans tending to see “more opportunity and freedom” in capitalism and Democrats more likely to see socialism as meeting people’s basic needs.

Pew Research Center surveyed 7,647 members of its American Trends Panel in a questionnaire Aug. 1-14. The margin of error was plus or minus 1.7 percentage points.

• Sean Salai can be reached at ssalai@washingtontimes.com.

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