This poll made our day.

According to a recent Rasmussen Report, only 53 percent of American adults believe capitalism is better than socialism.

Not a very good spread for the profits-before-people, greed-is-good crowd. Ayn Rand must be rolling in her grave.

These numbers of course reflect the deep, transformative moment we are living in. An economic depression is a powerful force for people to experience, leading them to question the system that got us here.

Then there is the 20 percent that say socialism is better than capitalism, according to Rasmussen. Another wow! Twenty-seven percent are not sure which is better. As the population gets further away from the Cold War years, the more they are open to socialism. The under 30 population is essentially divided: 37 percent prefer capitalism, 33 percent socialism and 30 percent are undecided.

Thirty-somethings are a bit more supportive of the current system with 49 percent for capitalism and 26 percent for socialism.

But the ones over 40 strongly favor capitalism, and just 13 percent of those believe socialism is better. What happened to the radical baby boomers?!

As you may imagine, those who have money to invest chose capitalism by a 5-to-1 margin. But for the rest of us who have no money to invest – a quarter of us say socialism would be o.k. Only 40 percent of non-investors think capitalism is better.

These are amazing statistics considering Rasmussen did not define either capitalism or socialism in their questions.

In an earlier survey by the polling firm they found, 70 percent of Americans prefer a free-market economy. When using the term “free market economy,” Rasmussen asserts, it attracts more support than using the term “capitalism.”

“Other survey data supports that notion. Rather than seeing large corporations as committed to free markets, two-out-of-three Americans believe that big government and big business often work together in ways that hurt consumers and investors,” the poll summary stated.

Imagine how Americans would react if truly a national conversation was had on the benefits of socialism. Right now most Americans see it as a “government-managed” economy and they aren’t convinced the government could do any better than the corporate royalty, according to further poll findings.

Not included in the current popular view of socialism is democratization of the economy – where representatives of all communities, unions, schools, etc., would actually be involved in steering economic policy and decision making on all levels – micro and macro.

Recently, a colleague of mine, Sam Webb, the chair of the Communist Party said of the current economic and political situation:

“Is there any reason to think that millions in motion can’t transform this country and world into the just, green, sustainable and peaceful ‘Promised Land’ that Martin Luther King dreamed of?

“It would be a profound mistake to underestimate the progressive and socialist potential of this era. The American people have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity within their reach.”

While polls are just a snapshot of a very fluid and dynamic process of what people think, the more long term forces of the economy are already having this profound effect.


Teresa Albano
Teresa Albano

Teresa Albano was the first woman editor-in-chief of People’s World, 2003-2010, leading the transition from weekly print to daily online publishing and establishing PW’s social media presence. Albano had been a staff writer for People’s World covering political, labor, and social justice issues for more than 25 years. She traveled throughout the U.S. and abroad, including India, Cuba, Angola, Italy, and Paris to cover the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference. An award-winning journalist, Albano has been honored for her writing by the International Labor Communications Association, National Federation of Press Women, and Illinois Woman Press Association.