Red Dawn

Pew’s out with one of those surveys about how Americans perceive various ideological labels or concepts, and it’s mostly the usual stuff (you know, more people like “conservative” than “liberal,” mainly because a lot of “liberals” like to think of themselves as “moderates”). It’s good to see that despite Glenn Beck’s best efforts to demonize the term, “progressive” has a very high positive/negative ratio of 67/22.

The really interesting findings are about current perceptions of “capitalism” and “socialism.” Overall, capitalism is favorably regarded by Americans by a 50/40 margin, as opposed to a 31/60 rating for socialism. Even OWS supporters are more positive towards capitalism (45/47) than socialism (39/52).

But look at the age breakdowns. Americans between the ages of 18-29 narrowly have a negative perception of capitalism (46 positive, 47 negative), but are positive towards socialism by a 49/43 margin. Could it have something to do with their current life prospects? Nah, they’re probably just hippies going through a phase.

If it sticks, though, politics could be interesting by the time Sarah Palin gets the Republican presidential nomination in 2024 or so.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.