Poll of the Day

POLL OF THE DAY…. For a couple of months, every sentence from Republican officials and Fox News personalities had to include the word “socialism” while attacking the president. It didn’t have much of an effect.

Maybe the smears didn’t connect because people don’t think “socialism” is all that bad.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 20% disagree and say socialism is better. Twenty-seven percent (27%) are not sure which is better.

Adults under 30 are essentially evenly divided: 37% prefer capitalism, 33% socialism, and 30% are undecided. Thirty-somethings are a bit more supportive of the free-enterprise approach with 49% for capitalism and 26% for socialism. Adults over 40 strongly favor capitalism, and just 13% of those older Americans believe socialism is better.

Specifically, Rasmussen asked respondents, “Which is a better system — capitalism or socialism?” A narrow majority (53%) supported capitalism as the superior system. One in five backed socialism, and a surprisingly high 27% weren’t sure.

You just can’t have an effective red scare with numbers like these.

In terms of interpreting these results, the numbers certainly aren’t what I expected, and it’s hard to know why respondents answered as they did. Perhaps “capitalism” lost some of its appeal when our economy collapsed. Maybe a lot of people heard the media connect Obama and “socialism,” and since they like the president, they figure socialism can’t be that bad. In a similar vein, if right-wing blowhards like Limbaugh keep screaming that socialism is manifestly evil, there may be some who assume the economic model must have merit.

But I was especially intrigued by the 27% who weren’t sure which was better. Talk about a sign of the times — more than one in four aren’t quite sure whether capitalism or socialism is the superior system.

As Chris Good concluded, “[A]fter all, who is sure of anything these days? When it comes to the economy, certainty isn’t exactly the spirit of the age. After learning that we’re on the brink of “nationalization” anyway, perhaps the respondents to this poll, when they got automated calls from Rasmussen, just felt more inclined to say ‘Well, my 401k is worthless, so who the hell knows?'”