Poll: Americans favor capitalism, free market over socialism, federal government

By Casey Harper, The Center Square

Gallup released new polling numbers Monday that gauge Americans’ sentiment toward frequently used political terms such as “capitalism,” “socialism,” and more.

Notably, two terms tied for the bottom of the list.

“Socialism ties with ‘the federal government’ as the lowest rated of the six terms included in the 2021 survey,” Gallup said. “In contrast, Americans are most positive toward small business and free enterprise, while they are slightly more negative than positive toward big business.”

“Small business” has a 97% favorability rating, and “free enterprise” is positively viewed by 84% of Americans. “Socialism” and “the federal government” come in at only 38%

“Capitalism” has 60% favorability while “big business” has 46%.

“Since 2010, Gallup has measured Americans’ basic opinions of several economic or governmental terms, including capitalism and socialism,” Gallup said. “Their views of socialism have held steady, even as Sen. Bernie Sanders and progressive Democratic politicians have pursued an expanded government role in addressing healthcare, poverty and early childhood education – policies their critics describe as moving the U.S. toward socialism. Likewise, Americans’ opinions of capitalism have not varied, even with greater discussion of income inequality in the U.S. and the concentration of U.S. wealth in a small percentage of people.”

While some sentiments have remained steady, the favorability of big business has fallen from 52% to 46% this year.

“Just as Republicans are responsible for the overall decreases in public confidence in big business and satisfaction with corporate influence, shifting Republican views account for the less-positive perceptions of big business,” Gallup said. “Currently, 56% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, down from 72% in 2019, have a positive opinion of big business. Democrats’ and Democratic leaners’ views are stable, at 36%.”

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