February 5th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

36% of Americans have a positive view of socialism

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Socialism may be tossed around like a dirty word these days, but it turns out more than one-third of Americans have a positive image of socialism.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/05/art.20.jpg caption=""]
A new Gallup poll shows 36 percent of those surveyed have a positive view of socialism, while 58 percent have a negative opinion.

No surprise that there is a big partisan gap here - most Democrats and liberals have a positive view of socialism, compared to the negative image held by most Republicans and conservatives.

The poll also shows Americans are very positive in their reactions to these terms:

  • Small Business
  • Free Enterprise
  • Entrepreneurs

While they are divided on the terms:

  • Federal Government
  • Big Business

As for capitalism, Americans respond more positively than negatively - by almost two to one - 61 to 33 percent.

But out of all the items in this poll, socialism has the lowest positive rating and the highest negative rating - yet like we said, that positive view still tops one-third, which is significant.

In recent months - some of the president's critics have taken to calling him a socialist.

They point to some of Mr. Obama's policies, including what they call a government takeover of health care, as proof.

Here’s my question to you: What does it mean if 36 percent of Americans have a positive view of socialism?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Eimerd from California writes:
I come from a family where my grandfather was an early socialist, and my father was a very popular politician for the Dutch Labor party. Although I don’t consider myself a socialist per se, I do support the social democratic policies upheld by most of the northern European countries. The standard of living in the Scandinavian countries and Holland are the best in the world, and for most of the decades after WW2 these countries have been ruled by social democratic parties.

Bob from Arizona writes:
It means the number of lazy people who want handouts is growing. That is scary.

Ralph from Centerville, Illinois writes:
It means that at least one-third of our population has actually looked up the definition of socialism in some sort of reference material and found that it is not the definition the right-wing wackos use.

Charisse from Toledo, Ohio writes:
It means that 'socialism' is no longer the dirty word that conservatives can fling at liberals McCarthy-style, and the very idea of equality is becoming much more appealing as corporate fat-cats mismanage America's economy.

Jean-Bernard from Canada writes:
Canada is often seen as a socialist country by Republicans… Strangely, my house did not lose value in the past decade, we were not as creative to come up with sub-prime mortgages, no banks went belly up and we have universal (although imperfect) health care... I guess socialism isn't that bad after all.

Overby writes:
That 36% that like socialism and the 33% that don't like capitalism sound like the same group - people that don't/won't try to get ahead and become successful, and just want as much of a free ride as they can get off the people that Obama wants to tax to death for doing good.

Harold from Alaska writes:
Sounds like we're still in the minority, but time is on our side.

Filed under: Social Issues • United States • US Government
soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. Colleen Brooks, Charlotte, NC

    would that be the same 36% that do not care who wins the super bowl?

    February 5, 2010 at 5:03 pm |
  2. MNResident

    It means the Democratic Party has a solid base of 36 percent.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:05 pm |
  3. Jorge Menendez

    Democratic Socialism, as practiced in first world nations, is a very good thing. We have a small taste of it in our public schools and Universities, our police and fire departments, etc. In a nutshell, it means that the voters collectively decide to spend their tax money. This can apply to anything, including health care.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:06 pm |
  4. calaurore9

    Carol Colitti Levine Northampton MA

    That 36% of Americans are democrats? That 36% of Americans don't know what it means? That 36% of Americans like to party?

    February 5, 2010 at 5:09 pm |
  5. Conor in Chicago

    It means that 36% of this country actually has an in depth knowledge of the world around them and doesn't rely on 1950's propoganda to help define what they think about political systems.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:10 pm |
  6. Simonsays-Orlando

    Those are the non tax paying citizens. The trouble with Socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:10 pm |
  7. Mari Fernandez, Utah

    It means that in the USA everyone IS FREE to voice their opinion & believe in whatever they want. Socialism in itself is not evil, read the Gospels all 4 of them, Jesus believed in "selling all you have, giving the money to the poor, and following Him."

    February 5, 2010 at 5:11 pm |
  8. Jim


    Not much. Most Americans don't even know what the word means. They've just been brain-washed into believing that Socialism is a four-letter word with some extra letters thrown in. If pressed, most will equate Socialism with Communism or Fascism, confirming their ignorance. Convincing them that America can have social programs, like Social Security, without being a Socialist country is a pretty tough sell.

    Reno, Nevada

    February 5, 2010 at 5:15 pm |
  9. Conor in Chicago

    It means 63% of this country needs to look up Socialism and learn a little about it. In doing so, they might want to consider why the richest Capitalist country in the world has tried to equate socialism with "the devil" for more than a Century.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:15 pm |
  10. Matt

    It means that these 36% of Americans are probably more aware of how socialism can actually be beneficial, in some circumstances, and are equally aware that socialism does not necessarily equal communism.
    They're also most likely to be the same people who know a bit more about what goes on beyond our own borders.

    Saint Augustine, Fl.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
  11. Layne Alleman

    Jack, I think this comes down to semantics more than political leanings. I believe that we, as Americans, tend to empathize and sympathize with people whom we see in trouble or hurting physically or mentally(it could easily be us in that situation). That's why I believe that you now hear; social- conservative, Libertarian-but social-moderate, ect.,ect. I don't necessarily think is has to do with religion as much as it's just simply how we view life. Layne A. Antioch, Il.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
  12. Joe M


    It means that 64% of us do not hold a postive view of socialism Jack.

    Joe M (Mn)

    February 5, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
  13. Robert

    Socialism: : (1)any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods

    (2): a system of society or group living in which there is no private property b : a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state

    I would rather work for what I have and to be able to think for myself. I do not want handouts from the government. I do not want the government to control my life, as if I were to stupid to control my own.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
  14. Rory Murray

    You mean besides the "Cold War" being another colossal waste of our time and money?
    Rory Murray
    San Bernardino, CA

    February 5, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
  15. frankie

    It means we aren't stupid enough to think that fear of a supposed socialism is reason enough to keep every single American from being able to afford medical care. Listen up, Tom Tancredo.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
  16. Chuck Paugh

    Jack, the USA has been a socialist country since the New Deal and we continue to function as one with farm subsidies, oil subsidies, and other costly programs that fly in the face of capitalism and a free market economy.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:26 pm |
  17. Bertina

    That they know that socialism isn't as evil as Republicans and Tea Party members believe.

    Bertina in Georgia

    February 5, 2010 at 5:27 pm |
  18. Don from Belleville, Canada

    It means America will soon be Canada's 11th province. Up here in cold country, 83 percent of the people love socialism. We love free health care. We love being generous with others. Of course we also love our taxes on everything you buy or do or think about. Please join our country. We want to share our wonderful taxes with you. Will you share your great southern weather with us? Socialism will be our best friend.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:27 pm |
  19. Mark

    It means that 36% of our population needs to be packing their bags for Sweden or Denmark. They are obviously the ones who don't get the concept of "working" for the American Dream and paying your own way. Let the Scandanavian countries take about 50 million of our poor and welfare supported citizens and see how well their "socialized" governments work then!

    Oklahoma City

    February 5, 2010 at 5:28 pm |
  20. Chuck

    It means "free markets" don't seem to be working out all that well right now for services and products that people can't seem to live without. The rich are getting richer, the middle class is disolving and no one can afford to pay for things they absolutely need like health care, daycare (because the days of being middle class with one parent working are gone, likely forever) or utilities. I remember reading somewhere that the basic function of the middle class (for the wealthy)is to serve as a buffer, keeping the lower class from reaching up and choking the life out of the upper class. It seems like the wealthy and the government they bought don't believe that. The answer is wages. Until the difference between worker pay and CEO pay tightens considerably, this isn't really going to end.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:28 pm |
  21. Stan in Boston

    The other 64% do not have a clue what socialism is, and that should be of more concern to you. We cannot have intelligent debate about proposed legislation because so many Americans have been scared of the boogie man called socialism.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
  22. Gordo, NJ

    It means there is still a significant percentage of Americans who are not buying into the current teapartyist fiscal hysteria. The public sector - aka Socialism - does many things as well as could be expected - like the police, firefighters, soldiers, pothole repair, and public schools. The private sector is clearly better for manufacturing, mining, banking, retail, and thousand of other businesses. An intelligently mixed economy with most jobs done by private sector, and others by the public sector makes good sense. This mixture of public and private are needed to fix healthcare...which is currently something the private sector greed has made a total mess of.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
  23. Eric - Houston

    It means that our high school drop out rate is catching up to us.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
  24. Ryan- Galesburg, IL

    It means that decades of instructing Americans that socialism = communism = dictatorship has paid off, but not for average folks (99% of us). Republicans, many Democrats and corporations have a lot to gain by undervaluing or demonizing social programs, while laissez-faire capitalism deprives those who actually do work from the wealth it generates. Seems like something's amiss here.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
  25. Richard in Kansas

    It means they are extremely uninformed about what Socialism would really mean for them. They are probably only equating it with getting health care benefits on the cheap and their thought process sadly stopped there. We all have see news interviews and pictures over the years of people who live in a socialist country. They all hate it and there is virtually no middle class. And Jack, 36% is a shocking number of clueless people.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
  26. Jim

    Jack, it tells me that the majority of people are sick and tired of big money, big corporations, and wealthy people controlling the rest of us and buying the politicians that we send to Washington. They leave us the scaps after the big banks and big corporations, get their cut and ignore us when key legislation comes up for a vote. Do I believe Americans ready for pure socialism? No, but they're ready for more fairness and honesty in government and ready to do whatever it takes to get that.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
  27. Richard Texas

    What it means Jack is that 36 percent of Americans do not work and are all for government entitlement. Don't confuse unemployed workers with people that don't work because they are two different animals. The ones that don't or won't work and their offspring depend on the government to exist so naturally they are all for socialism. Most are democrat and most voted for Obama. In politics they call that the democrat base.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:35 pm |
  28. Cat, Detroit

    They are as smart as your average European. And, that's a good thing!

    February 5, 2010 at 5:36 pm |
  29. JW Georgia

    It probably means that thirty six percent of Americans are in a position to benefit from the public taking of the assets of the remaining sixty four percent. When that number passes the fifty fifty mark, we can look forward to a permanantly declining society.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
  30. Paulette in Dallas,PA

    It means that Americans are looking for a more equitable system. The poor middle class has dwindled . What we basically have these days is the haves and the have nots. This system just doesn't cut it anymore.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:41 pm |
  31. Loretta - Raymond, Mississippi

    Jack, sounds like the rest of the people need to learn just what socialism is. I believe more people than that feel favorably about it, I didn't get the chance to take that poll!

    February 5, 2010 at 5:41 pm |
  32. Jim Z..Ft. Worth...Texas

    You mean 36% of the nation lives in Wahzoo, Alaska and can peer (view) into the Russian Federation? Not a pretty sight I'll bet. Then again, isn't everybody the same in regards to entitlement?

    February 5, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
  33. pat in michigan

    Well Jack you know those darnn Canadians are socialists and you can't trust them . You know Up there looking down on us. just biding their time . You know like socialists do!

    February 5, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
  34. Juan: Rochester, NY.

    It means that the current system isn't working, and American's are seeing it first hand. Socialism (which is not synonymous with Communism) isn't perfect, but neither is Capitalism. With a smart mix and an open mind, the American people would be surprised at what they have so long stigmatized.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
  35. carrie miller

    Its the idea that I dont wantYOU to have any social big govertment help BUT give ME all the benfits I can tcount how may people dont think medicare or ss checks every month isnt socialism

    February 5, 2010 at 5:43 pm |
  36. Judy, Exeter, Ca

    Socialism, Facism, Communism, Capitalism – Critics of this administration have used the socialism handle to get back at the liberals and democrats for the facism handle they hung on the Bush administration. Is there an "ism" to describe the mess the social conservatives left for the American middle-class? Therein lies the rub.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:45 pm |
  37. Mike Durrant

    It means America is in serious trouble!

    February 5, 2010 at 5:45 pm |
  38. david doherty

    It means fewer and fewer people trust the criminal's that are running our country into the ground!
    Dave from Peterborough, NH.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:46 pm |
  39. Ralph from Carterville Illinois

    It means that at least one third of our population has actually looked up the definition of socialism in some sort of reference material and found that it is not the definition the right-wing wackos use.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:46 pm |
  40. Lance, Ridgecrest, Ca

    Jack, what it means is that 36% of americans live in a dream world with no concept of reality, history, or personal responsibility. It also means that 35.5% of americans have absolutely no understanding of what real socialism is, or what it means to live under socialist rule. They need to pack their bags and go spend a couple of years in Cuba, then come back and tell us how great it is to live under socialism.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:48 pm |
  41. Dennis North Carolina

    it means that they should move to Russia or France and take the republican with them that way they would have their own democracy.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:49 pm |
  42. Steve Canada

    To mention socialism in the United States is ridiculous. I mean other than welfare, your highway system, medicare, medicaid, food stamps, social security, redistribution of wealth to the upper 2%, and some other things, you have no similarities with a socialist system...

    February 5, 2010 at 5:50 pm |
  43. Liberal,MI

    It means I'm part of a growing number of Americans who recognize the bankruptcy of the current system. An American socialist political presence as existed in the early 20th century in needed to restore balance to the body politic.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:53 pm |
  44. Eimerd CA

    I come from a family where my grandfather was an early socialist, and my father was a very popular politician for the Dutch Labour party. Although I dont consider myself a socialist per se, I do support the social democratic policies upheld by most of the northern European countries. The standard of living in the Scandinavian countries and Holland are the best in the world, and for most of the decades after WW2 these countries have been ruled by social democratic parties.
    I emigrated here in 1986 and started my own business one year later., it was an still is a small company, a travelagency, but my employees have 3weeks vacation and health care is covered, and we have a 401K plan for anyone to participate. Social responsibility has guided both of my parents families, and I am proud to continue this legacy.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:53 pm |
  45. Phil, georgia

    Its Simple. We pay taxes for a reason!! For the government to provide services and protections that we would misearably fail at individually. Just on that premise Republicans fail b/c they would not even want any services. They want everyone to pay taxes but for it to go to those who supposedly already "can pull themselves up by their bootstraps", the rich, corporations, affluent.
    But if the majority of people paying taxes are the average,, well why should not that money be used to most effectively make their lives alot better.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:54 pm |
  46. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    Tell me they are sick and tired of the idiots we elected to congress have made a total mess of everything they touch.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:54 pm |
  47. chewy

    It means we're headed in the wrong direction. Why can't we consult the fantastic four on this one? The declaration of independence, the constitution,the bill of rights,and liberty with justice for all. These are missing in this country. We need to start a true "grass root" reprisal of government. The answers to all our questions have been there all the while, as the founding fathers made it simple and WE made it difficult. "Keep it simple, stupid" was really the only phrase left out of the constitution. If this could have been realized sooner, there would be less "red tape" to cut through to reverse some of the poor decisions made. It has become such a debacle to solve even the simplist of problems. The government has stepped in to solve many of these simple problems. They have done this, all to often, and now the american people expect a response in the form of a new law,or another governmental agency thus taking another freedom away each time. The more the government gets involved the bigger it gets. We get what we deserve though, as we have been moving towards socialism for years. ( just for kicks) The constitution warned us about government getting too big, and provided laws to prevent it but they didn't know what they were doing?Right?

    February 5, 2010 at 5:54 pm |
  48. Ron Lambert

    It means that the other two thirds of americans are confusing socialism with communism.

    Social services like the mail and eventually healthcare are needed for our society to be great. Just because we provide basic human resources to our citizens doesnt exclude our society from having businesses and free markets.

    Besides jack the two thirds that are confused are probibly very religious, and attend republican brainwashing seminars on sunday.
    while waiting for the risen jesus to smite americas enemies. lol.

    Ron L.
    Miami FL.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:56 pm |
  49. Mike in Quebec

    Hey Jack.... I was going to say Hi Jack but that would have peaked the Homeland Security geeks!

    Socialism? Americans don't even know what that means. Most think that the USA is a democracy! How can they even properly comment on something like socialism.

    What scares me the most is the dumbing down of the nation!

    February 5, 2010 at 6:01 pm |
  50. Dave - Grand Rapids

    Jack, the biggest problem with socialism is not the ideology itself. I think we'd all agree that the government has some role in taking care of the needy in our society. The biggest problem is that the government just doesn't know when to stop! Currently our social safety net (Social Security/Medicare/Medicaid to name the biggies, with welfare not far behind) is too expensive and has long been predicted to bankrupt our country. Politicians cannot handle the responsibility of taking care of the poor and elderly. They've proved it over and over again. When it comes to social services, we absolutely need to adopt a budget tool the States have long been forced to use – a balanced budget! Your State probably has to balance it's budget, and our National government should also have to do this when it comes to social services. Let's get serious about it!!

    February 5, 2010 at 6:06 pm |
  51. Ivy from Houston

    Socialism was a dream that said all people are equal. It was a theory of a worker’s paradise, but in reality it produced some of the world greatest dictators. The problem is when governments starts to tell people how to live instead of letting them have choices and protecting right it becomes out of line with the people who become bitter with politics, sounds familiar. I can see some people wanting a system that allows them to be all they can. Maybe we can learn from socialisms failures.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:07 pm |
  52. Ed from California

    Lending money out to anyone that is backed by the United States is not Socialism, it's called lend-ism. If the government admits that it owns a particular company then that's socialism. I don't hear the government saying that they own GM or AIG or Goldman Sachs, do you? no. All of our banking activities, checking and savings are backed by the FDIC (The FEDERAL Deposit Insurance Corp). The FDIC entity could be called a socialist company. Because the federal government (that's us people) owns the FDIC, same goes for Fannie & Freddie. Our country is in meltdown, unemployment is high, food is high, gas is high, insurance premiums (auto, home, life & health) are high, no jobs and no one has any money. Except, the ones who are whining, the ones w/money, and their screaming "socialism" every five seconds, just to scare the elderly and the week minded. I feel Obama is doing a great job even in these trying times. Get caller ID, turn off the TV, and stop answering the phone!

    February 5, 2010 at 6:09 pm |
  53. hampster

    The majority of European nations are democratic socialist nations. Leave the lies and rhetoric of America politics behind and listen to what citizens of these countries say and socialism sounds pretty good. The main argument often used by American politicians are taxes in socialist european countries. American politicians were smart they break our taxes into little pieces. Add up your local, state, and federal taxes. Then add all the sales tax and hidden taxes (gasoline). Guess what you are paying just like these socialist nations, but getting CRAP in return.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:12 pm |
  54. The Broker.

    "Thats ok! There as to be workers! But you have to be concious of where your production is going, and who can afford to finance what you make. When you make more than what is needed. Or it is too expesive for the markets. You have to get more involved these days. You had so much of the market, and you threw all away??"

    February 5, 2010 at 6:14 pm |
  55. Antonio from Washington D.C.

    The means 74 % think that socialism sucks!

    February 5, 2010 at 6:14 pm |
  56. Duane in Union City, CA

    It means that this country changing. As older generations step back for newer ones to step forward, I'm sure that 36% will go up. That 36% has no problems with taking care of Americans. Why not? If we can invade, bomb, over throw the government, be a security force, and rebuild Iraq. Why in the world would a lil Socialism be a bad thing? If we invested half the money and resources that is being waisted on another nation, in our own nation. We would be much better off. Republican always want blow money on invading any coutry that have a few people that don't like us. Which has never made us safer. But when it comes to getting all americans health care, all of a sudden they care about cost. I don't want 1 dime of my tax dollar going toward rebuilding another country, when people in my country need help.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:14 pm |
  57. Clint from Tulsa

    It means that 'socialism' may not be such a terrible thing. People that use socialism as a dirty word don’t seam to want to admit that most of our most fundamental public services are “socialist” programs, teachers, police, fire fighters, the postal service to name a few. I believe that everyone should have an opportunity to make money in a capitalist system, but as the old saying goes, “the problem with capitalism is capitalists.” Capitalism has to be reigned in with regulation when the greed of a select, super-rich few threatens the liberties and collective wealth of the vast majority of American citizens. This is why we elect officials, and this is why we pay taxes; to protect us, not only from threats from without, but also from financial oppression from within.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:15 pm |
  58. Wade, Henderson Nevada

    It means that I have to be at work long hours, missing dinner with my family, so I can help support 3.6 out of every 10 people in our country.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  59. Francoise Dubois

    Come on Jack, don't you remember Bush snickering at the IOUs ? The Social Security fund was squandered by Bush, long before Obama arrived.
    Françoise, Thousand Oaks, CA

    February 5, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  60. Tom Kerr

    We've squandered everything else..our standing in the world as an economic beacon, our standing as a moral beacon (look how we treated Native and African Americans for 200 years), our standing as environmental leaders (establishing the National Parks and Wildlife Refuge Systems)...why should we not squander financial security for the retired and the elderly and the deserving? It's all a pattern...a disturbing pattern. We are lost.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  61. Gary H. Boyd

    It means a little over one third of the country have their heads where the sun never shines.

    Gary H. Boyd, Scottsdale, Arizona

    February 5, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  62. Steve in Las Vegas,NV

    Where was this poll taken?? Most likely in Pelosiland and a lot of the Left coast. Socialism is the Robin Hood plan, take from the rich and give to the poor. Remember this line?The problem with socialist is that you eventually run out of other peoples money!" M. Thatcher.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  63. Rose

    Those 36% probably know what socialism means. Our military is socialized, our educational systems are socialized, our postal service is socialized, etc. The mental midgits who send emails calling people socialists are sending them to fellow mental midgits who haven't a clue what socialism means. They have to tell each other that it is bad and that the opposing political party to theirs is a "socialist."
    Someone said, "the best case against democracy is to speak a couple of minutes to the average voter." I rest my case.

    Rose in London

    February 5, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  64. A. Smith, Oregon

    What does it mean if 36 percent of Americans have a positive view of socialism?

    It means that more and more American's realize that if a sizable minority of American's are struggling to even survive, that drags the entire community and country down with them.

    The Republican talking points continuously point out the evils of socialism. The Republican Party's answer to those that are homeless and out of work is to build more prisons to house them. The Republican Party's answer to the massive number of homeless teens across America is to build more prisons to house them.

    Socialism is now clearly being associated with Compassion, which the Republican ME first Reagan mantra never had and never did understand was needed by any lasting and great country.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  65. Ben in Maryland

    It means that 36% of the people still have open minds, and do not reject ideas due to labels.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  66. Tom in Desoto, Tx

    To all those who yell socialism is the devil, I expect all to reject all social security payments beyond their contribution plus a fair percentage rate of return. They should reject all Medicare. On another note, a degree of socialism is required to start wars. (No town is going to declare war on a country.) Roads, bridges, water and sewers are other aspects of necessary government involvement. As for healthcare, republicans like the fiefdom method currently run by corperations.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  67. Bubbashrimp2

    Funny Jack, Equates to the Democratic Party percentage. 1/3 of the country, the dependent 1/3, who don't work, can't support themselves, depend on others for food stamps, subsidized housing, health care and hand outs from education to death. Those who believe that government was designed to be their Daddy, you have to ask them "Whose your Daddy?". Tell Americans to stand up on their two feet and declare themselves free of the bondage that is their dependence on government. That is the only route to freedom.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  68. Kyle, Irvine, CA

    It means 36% of the people are stupid Jack!

    February 5, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  69. Pete - Hiawassee, GA

    What does it mean ??
    We have more than we need of lazy "do-nothings" waiting for the govt. to run their lives.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  70. Don, Las Vegas NV

    I already have a family to support, why do I have to support 36% of the population too? Welfare is fine as a transitional mechanism only. Just like the Atkins diet.

    What I would be willing to do is to cut all welfare type spending and assess a 'socialist' tax according to your Adjusted Gross Income, but let me determine where I want it spent.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  71. Tom Kerr

    We've squandered everything else..our standing in the world as an economic beacon, our standing as a moral beacon (look how we treated Native and African Americans for 200 years), our standing as environmental leaders (establishing the National Parks and Wildlife Refuge Systems, then trashing the air and land and water)...why should we not squander financial security for the retired and the elderly and the deserving? It's all a pattern...a disturbing pattern. We are lost.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  72. Nell, Clemson, South Carolina

    It means that people don't understand socialism. If you ask Americans if they support public schools, public police, publicly provided roads, publicly provided airports, public parks, publicly provided fire protection, providing emergency medical care without asking to be paid first, most Americans will say yes. These community programs are good for everyone. And they are socialistic.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  73. Terry C. in Illinois

    It means that good paying American jobs have been outsourced to the point of no return and 36% of Americans now think its better to have social help from our government than it is to work until you are 62 years old with no pensions. In your polling, I would be willing to bet the 58% negative all have jobs today.
    Check out what the French do, work 36 hours per week for 6 weeks and then get 2 weeks vacation, retirement is paid for, medical is paid for, so nothing to worry about unlike America. In America we have no guarantee of retirement or pensions but we have a bankrupt Social Security program that GOP wants to get rid of...and we have no Medical guarantee until you get to age 65 for Medicare.
    Maybe the French have a less stressful way of living with their social programs.....

    February 5, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  74. Carla in Alabama

    It means we need to work on the other 64 percent

    February 5, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  75. Jonathan Adam

    Is it mere coincidence that roughly the same percent, 43 to be exact, pay no federal income tax?

    February 5, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  76. Joe CE

    Socialism where the govwerment determines everything is unworkable. The Commisars become the new nobility. However, although Captialism is be best system yet devised, there is no denying that iit allows the rich to get erich while the poor get poorer. Many programs intended to correct this defienceny are labled "socialist:" because there is no logical argument against them.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  77. Larraine

    I'm not in the least surprised. I've asked coworkers if they would like some socialism in their lives and they mostly answer yes, especially when it comes to medical issues. While 75% of people with health insurance are happy with their coverage (that includes me), there are 25% who are not and another percentage with NO coverage. By the way, I have federal workers health coverage thanks to my husband. It IS a government health plan. Just like the ones our congress and other government officials have.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  78. Steve Batts Edna Kansas

    JACK! Define Socialism
    Most of the political talking heads that through this word around every day defining the Obama administration can't find it in the dictionary.

    Those 36% probably don't not what the definition is either.
    1. They need to work for a living.
    2 Take care of their social responsibilities out of their own pocket book.
    After 64 years I just want this country, be all it can be. To HELL with the talking heads.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  79. Greg - Minneapolis, MN

    Jack, as the Depression was raging worldwide, people in Germany had a positive view of the National Socialists. Then their true colors were shown, and the result was a disaster to put it mildly. NEVER in history has socialism worked, as the elite always find a way to keep the masses downtrodden while they are exempt from most rules that they impose on the rest of us. And today's Congress is right up there proposing rules that they will not have to follow. Not exactly a formula for success.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:30 pm |
  80. rob fritz

    that's easy, there is18% of people who don't mind having others mooch off of them and 18% who don't mind mooching.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:30 pm |
  81. Matthew from Renton, WA

    Means 58% of people need to open a dictionary and stop listening to Fox News talking points

    February 5, 2010 at 6:32 pm |
  82. Meg from Troy, Ohio

    It means that socialism has become like other negative but undefined terms like death panels and big government. It is certainly not used intelligently or correctly by the Republicans who fling it around for political purposes. Politicians needs to use a dictionary or google and find out what they're talking about, before they speak and show their ignorance.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:32 pm |
  83. Don H, Gulfport, MS

    It means that there are many Americans who have never suffered true hardship, have been taken care of their entire lives, have become lazy and soft and greedy, and have no character nor pride in themselves. The success that our forefathers built for us has defeated itself by building generations of do – nothings.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:33 pm |
  84. jim Blevins

    Since we spent decades in a cold war with these "isms" being the rallying cry, it is not surprising that that the emotive factors are what they are. But look at the anger against the excesses of capitalism practiced by our bankers and you see that the situation is not as black and white as your polls indicate. When people start tossing around gross generalizations in anger, it is time to start looking at specifics.

    Jim, Craig, CO

    February 5, 2010 at 6:33 pm |
  85. Alison

    Only 36%??? Then people should read more! Socialism picks up the needs of the young, the sick and the poor, and enables society to be more compassionate and inclusive. Look how capitalism has decimated the country and polarized society. Stop thinking ME ME ME, and start thinking WE. Alison, Miami.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:33 pm |
  86. Audrey

    36% have a POSITIVE view of Socialism???
    I don't believe it for a minute! America is about FREEDOM!

    February 5, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
  87. Gail, Illinois

    Since when did the act of a thief, paying back stolen money, become a “bail out?” I know the word bailout gets people excited enough to pay attention but, Jack, get real. It would be refreshing if, like the Toyota CEO, Uncle Sam said, “sorry, I took your money” and “here it is back again, so you don’t have to worry.” After all, it is a forced savings program and it is not the fault of those drawing it, that the program is broken.

    As America slips into oblivion we have; the far-side of the right-wing of the GOP, called the Tea Party, a religious sect attempting to be politically relevant; the remaining Republican Party trying to regain control of the White House so they do war around the world and divert money into monolithic corporations who then share divert some into their political campaign funds; blue-dog democrats that have forgotten the people they serve; timid liberal democrats that can’t find a way to get healthcare done and the American people who don’t show up to vote then cry about bad government policies.

    Rome and America are beginning to share a common future.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
  88. Kevin in CA

    It means that they are helping to counter balance the 25% that are right wing authoritarians.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
  89. Overby from Melbourne

    That 36% that like socialism and the 33% that don't like capitalism sound like the same group, people that don't/won't try to get ahead and become successful, and just want as much of a free ride as they can get off the people that Obama wants to tax to death for doing good.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:36 pm |
  90. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    It means we are having a problem with trust.

    Look at what has transpired, most do not trust government, most do not trust banks and Wall Street, we do not trust politicians at any level, we do not trust political parties. It is the nature of the human in a dysfunctional system to look to the opposite, or to polarize.

    Those who believe it is the greed and human pride of a few that create the oppression of many, and I believe they would be right, will turn away from that capitalist system. Is socialism the answer? Only to the extent that all people are put first.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:40 pm |
  91. Jerry in Alaska


    February 5, 2010 at 6:41 pm |
  92. Toni from OK

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    More than 36% should have a positive view I guess they want more of the same of what Bush gave to us. Scary though because this proves people are not paying attention to what happened during the past eight years or they have very short memories.

    They aren't thinking of schools, hospitals, streets, bridges, police, firefighters, parks, etc. It takes tax money, hello, are people not using their brains or what.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:42 pm |
  93. Thom Richer

    It means our current "system" is no longer working and change is needed.

    Thom Richer
    Negaunee, MI

    February 5, 2010 at 6:42 pm |
  94. Gigi Oregon

    It means that 36% understand what socialism is. It is pay taxes with representation. What we have is government collects taxes and spends on themselves large salaries, great benefits, tax relief for the rich and supports special interest groups which in turns gets them re-elected. Pretty simple if you don't look though rose colored glasses.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:42 pm |
  95. Duane in Lock Haven PA

    Things are really getting bad in America or thay don't know what it would be like to live in a socialist country. They hear a nut case like Beck say its bad, so they think its a good thing.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:43 pm |
  96. Steven Garner

    It means that there are a lot of lazy dunderheads who are looking for someone (the goverment) to pay their way using somebody elses money ie: nanny state it's utterly revolting.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:43 pm |
  97. Karen - Nashville

    It means 36% of the population think they would get a bigger piece of the collective pie for no additional effort.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:46 pm |
  98. Ken

    Thirty-six percent of those polled haven't been in the military. If they had, they would know what it's like to have a few people making all the decisions for everyone. If you want to know about socialized medicine, the military is a good example of that, too.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:51 pm |
  99. Steve, Clifton, VA

    It means that Americans , as a whole, are no different than they were when TR or FDR was President.....

    February 5, 2010 at 6:51 pm |
  100. Jim

    It means that 1/3 of the people have their hand out whle the other 2/3 pay for it.....

    February 5, 2010 at 6:58 pm |
  101. walter vranesh

    what they have done to social security funding is abominable.. they should enact legislation to recover all of the funds , with interest.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:59 pm |
  102. Richard Green

    It means that only 36% of Americans understand what socialism is and that the rest do not know that many successful democracies in the world are successful because of their "socialism". We have some successful socialistic institutions here in the US...State universities, City colleges, libraries, police and fire departments, school systems, water and sewage departments, the health department, local run and owned electric utilities, the Veterans Administration, etc.. Gov't owns them, hires the employees, and runs them.
    Forcing us to by health insurance from private insurers is not socialism.....it's unrestained capitalism or corporatism plain and simple.
    Rich Green, San Clemente, Ca.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:59 pm |
  103. Sydney CA

    It means that American's didn't pay attention in their history and government classes. If they had, they would know that socialism can and will destroy our government.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:00 pm |
  104. martin wolk

    Socialism??? Saving the banks is Socialism.. Capitalism is Let GM and banks file Chapter 11.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:01 pm |
  105. James Allen

    That 36% hold a positive view of socialism means they could be tired of constantly getting screwed by the "barons of capitalism".

    James Allen
    Euless, TX

    February 5, 2010 at 7:03 pm |
  106. Sara

    It tells me they should move to Europe.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:04 pm |
  107. John Stephenson

    I wonder whether or not that 36 percent fully understand what socialism is. I like to break things down into their simplest form so I can get at the core of the issue. It's easier to understand that way. Here is my analogy: Imagine a dozen people are stranded on an island and have to start a new society.

    Capitalism: Every man for himself. What you make, you own. What you kill or raise is yours to eat. You are responsible only for yourself. But what you do with your possessions determines your character. Good people share what they own and help the less fortunate on their own accord. This is the character of a good person. You own what you make but you use what you own for the good of your neighbors. But this you do by your own choice. Unfortunately, some people are selfish and use their talents to gain advantage over others and unfairly control resources while still "following the rules".

    Socialism: Everyone works and shares the fruits of the labor equally. This way each can use his talents to the good of the society. Some would build, some would hunt, and some would farm. Where it falls apart is when the farmer is lying in the sun waiting for his fruit tree to grow, while the others build his house and feed him meat. Socialism works if everyone participates in a fair manner. But there are always those that seek to get more benefits for less effort. The hardest workers end up supporting the lazy.

    Communism: One man on the island is boss. Let's say the captain of the ship. He owns the island and all the resources. The others are forced to work and give all of the fruits of their labor to the captain, who then re-distributes it however he sees fit. If he is an honest and just person, this could work. But power tends to corrupt.

    What type of society would you prefer to live in?

    February 5, 2010 at 7:06 pm |
  108. Richard Green

    I forgot to mention city zoos, museums, highway departments, the Post Office, local bus lines. We're loaded with "socialistic" entities (wholly gov't owned and operated). Those successful democracies around the world also have free (or very inexpensive) health care from birth to death. Some are administered by private companies for the gov't ; in others the gov't hires all the doctors and owns the facilities. Someday we'll join the civilized world.

    Rich Green
    San Clemente, Cal.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:07 pm |
  109. Angie

    With the emails, that Medical Health Insurance management companies like Highmark, telling employees to go to the parking lot of the company and sign in March of 2008 for an upcomming event Back in April 2008 for what they referred to as a Tea Party Event, Long before the Tea Party was aired on TV by any news station proving that the Tea party had it's connection with Medical Health Insurance Companies from the start, and yet 56% are made at socialism.

    With Senate Republicans excepting bribes from the Health Insurance Companies in the amount of Millions of Dollars each just to say no to the Reform bill that would force the Insurance Companies to stop dropping patients and denying patients Lief Saving Procedures, and yet 56% are made at socialism.

    With Republican US Surpreme Court Justices giving corporations a legal strong hold Political Power in our government, many of those corporations having been merged, buy outs, take overs all with foreign investors, foreign companies many owned by foreign governments, putting foreign agendas ahead of the American People and Yet 56% are mad at socialism.

    The Republicans have changed the meaning of Abe Lincoln's words from "For the people by the people" to the new meaning of "For the Corporations and foreign interests by the Corporations and foreign interests." And yet 56% are mad at socialism.

    It just boggles the mind.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:09 pm |
  110. Bruce - Delaware

    It is a good thing. Socializes utilities in France saved a lot of money – switching to corporate utilities was a disaster. Also, socialized auto industries just finished kicking us 'across the pond'. Most socialized medical care is far far superior to ours(I know, as a social worker). Capitalism has its place, but not in banksters such as the Rockefeller crime family, or in bed with government.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:09 pm |
  111. Karl from SF, CA

    It means 64% of Americans don’t realize how socialistic our economy is. Socialism isn’t just Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, VA and welfare, it’s all government financed services including schools and colleges, police and fire departments, other health services, infrastructure and national security. That 64% are the ones that scream no more taxes and are only putting a penny in the collective pot but expect a nickel in return when they can well afford a dime or quarter. What hypocrites’.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:09 pm |
  112. Mr Cannuckistan

    It means that 64% are misinformed about what socialism is really about. They don't have a problem with socialized police, socialized fire departments, socialized postal services and even socialized basic education. Yet they don't trust their fellow citizens to keep them healthy through socialized medicine.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:09 pm |
  113. Alex Beatty

    36% of Americans have a favorable oppinion on socialism? This tells me 36% of Americans have no intrest in this countrys history or the direction the men who drafted and signed our Decloration of Independance were taking us. As an american citizen the Constitution is our cornerstone and our base of freedom. It is the base of our laws and the definition of our existence as a free country to the rest of the world. Hundreds of thousands of Americans died to keep and defend this. If you have a problem with the design of the Constitution you have a problem with being an American.Our cornerstone is firm and the bailouts to the banks will not drive the constitution out of town. What will destroy it is the peoples disbelief in it as the basis of our freedoms.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:10 pm |
  114. Angie

    OOps sorry – correction

    With the emails, that Medical Health Insurance management companies like Highmark, telling employees to go to the parking lot of the company and sign in March of 2009 for an upcomming event Back in April 2009 for what they referred to as a Tea Party Event, Long before the Tea Party was aired on TV by any news station proving that the Tea party had it's connection with Medical Health Insurance Companies from the start, and yet 56% are made at socialism.

    With Senate Republicans excepting bribes from the Health Insurance Companies in the amount of Millions of Dollars each just to say no to the Reform bill that would force the Insurance Companies to stop dropping patients and denying patients Lief Saving Procedures, and yet 56% are made at socialism.

    With Republican US Surpreme Court Justices giving corporations a legal strong hold Political Power in our government, many of those corporations having been merged, buy outs, take overs all with foreign investors, foreign companies many owned by foreign governments, putting foreign agendas ahead of the American People and Yet 56% are mad at socialism.

    The Republicans have changed the meaning of Abe Lincoln's words from "For the people by the people" to the new meaning of "For the Corporations and foreign interests by the Corporations and foreign interests." And yet 56% are mad at socialism.

    It just boggles the mind.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:10 pm |
  115. Emily in Canada

    What does it mean?
    Well, that depends on the age demographic of those asked. I didn't see what that 36% is vs. the other 64%

    February 5, 2010 at 7:11 pm |
  116. Richard, Kankakee, IL.

    We know that capitalism does not work, capitalism is about making things rare or scarce so that you can drive up the cost to make more profit for a few rich people. And we also know that most of our services that everyone one loves to use are socialism.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:12 pm |
  117. Linda in Arizona

    It means I have some friends. I AM a socialist.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:13 pm |
  118. Barbara Thesing

    I looked up the Social Security Act. of 1935 and It is a supplemental income. It says that Supreme Court has established that no one has any legal right to Social Security benefits) Page 11 of 38 Social Security Wikipedia), Bet you didn't know that.

    The wealthy should forgo SSI payments as they don't need the income and complain about paying income tax on SSI.

    Another solution is fire the fox that is watching the chicken house, whoever is managing the Social Security Trust Fund. They stole the surplus and spent.

    SSI for immgrants that never paid into the fund.
    This is totally wrong.

    Another thought, my parents said that the Republicans were dead set against Social Security. Guess who was first in line to collect.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:13 pm |
  119. Karen (Virginia Beach, Virginia)

    It means that they need to look up the word in the dictionary and realize what it means. More government doesn't work, it didn't work for the Purtians, Russia, or anyone else. Socialism hasn't worked in any industrialized nation ever.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:14 pm |
  120. jean2009

    Socialism is the definition of what we are and have been since our inception.
    But, we now have a group of ultra-conservative right wingers who want programs but don't want to pay for them. They would rather kick the can down the road. They are anti-tax funding. They want better schools but won't pass a local tax levy to support their school system, they want better roads but won't vote for a levy to fund simple maintenance. They are the first to hurl insults at everyone else.

    George Bush got us into a costly war that wasn't even necessary, and now they want to blame the fall out from driving the ship of state onto the beach on the current administration.

    The last election was to bring change...not for them to continually block change.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:14 pm |
  121. Curtis in Kansas

    In a country where the bottom 45% contribute exactly zero in income tax it is not surprising that there is 36% that think socialism is pretty cool. Clearly the more significant number is the 61% that view capitalism favorably – maybe this country has a chance after all.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:15 pm |
  122. Durk Brownlee

    It means that 64% of Americans are ill-informed.

    Minooka, IL

    February 5, 2010 at 7:15 pm |
  123. l00ker

    We just have to do everything possible to shrink that number to near zero in the long run, and doing everything in our power to make sure they don't get major power in the short run.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:15 pm |
  124. J from Billings, MT

    It means that over a third of Americans can define socialism.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:15 pm |
  125. Jake- Lakewood, Ohio

    It means that two thirds of the country don't like socialism. The "high" number of 36% are the Obama kool-aid drinkers.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:15 pm |
  126. Dave


    That is pretty easy math: it means the vast majority of Americans DON'T favor socialism....

    Granville, OH

    February 5, 2010 at 7:16 pm |
  127. Zach, California Republic

    It means that 36% of the population actually understands the issues and doesn't believe every talking point they hear.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:16 pm |
  128. Silas Kain - Boston

    It means that 64% of Americans are still clinging on to the belief that our capitalist society driven by special interest groups and disconnected elected officials still operates effectively. Give it another 20 years, Jack. If things don't change for the better, 80% will have a favorable view of socialism.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:16 pm |
  129. Jim

    It means that more than 36% of the population does not pay the taxes that fund socialism. Limit your poll to taxpayers and see how that percentage changes.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:16 pm |
  130. Alan

    36% have a positive view of socialism – Proof that college brainwashing has has an effect on our society.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:16 pm |
  131. Hamilton Agnew

    It means the other 64% should forfeit their social security.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:16 pm |
  132. Nick D. Neighbour

    Maybe they've realized that the word contains the word "Social"!
    Can anyone have a problem with THAT?
    Nick. N.
    Pasadena. CA.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:16 pm |
  133. Lee Strawhun

    What it means is we don't understand civics and the role of citizenship. Instead we want something that with work, dedication, education and faith could be ours.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:16 pm |
  134. Grover

    It'd mean that not only Republican's get to live the American dream.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:16 pm |
  135. andrew in pinehurst, nc

    It means that 99% of those who have a positive opinion of socialism have no idea what socialism is. Rather than just asking whether one has a positive opinion, the pollster should first determine whether the person being polled understands the question. Most polls ask questions that lead to one response vs another without giving any definitions.

    An example of how polls are conducted: Who do you trust, Wolfe or Jack? ............Wolfe or Jack who???? Trust them with what??????

    February 5, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
  136. gerry boyd

    It means that those of us who are paying attention are sick of corporations running the government. It means that some of us care more about our fellow human beings than the almighty dollar.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
  137. Willa

    I don't know Jack--maybe a third of us know what it is? Maybe a third of us are smart enough to know it isn't all bad? Maybe a third of us haven't drank the Kool-Aid that Rush and Beck serve up every day?

    February 5, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
  138. June

    It means that there are a substantial number of Americans like Medicare and would like to see at least the option of choosing it is available to everyone, not just those lucky enough to be old enough.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
  139. Moby, Detroit, MI

    Jack, I think it means that the nation is more polarized than ever. Forty years ago the number would have been 2%. Maybe if the government did for the people not just the big banks, the numbers would change. As it is now, it is socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
  140. Melissa S

    Lou, I'd be interested to know if 36% of people could define socialism, capitalism, or free enterprise. They are words we hear or say often, but I don't think most Americans actually know the definition. The same people who have a negative view of socialism are the people who want more regulation on bank bonuses. Can't have it both ways, folks.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
  141. Linda in AL

    The term "socialism" has been misused so much in the last year by the conservatives that I seriously doubt you could get an accurate poll. It probably means that most of those 36% are positive towards "socialism" because the irrational conservatives are against it.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
  142. Karen

    Americans have no idea what socialism is really about. The mentality of "take care of me from cradle to grave" probably would go for it. But those of us who are concerned about our and our children's future won't stand for this. Get real America and wake up!!

    February 5, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
  143. Rick Holbrook

    Apparently 36% of americans don't know what socialism really means, probably the same group of geniuses who elected the latest president.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
  144. Gail


    Well, Jack, it means that we have a large confused senior cynical population demanding services (that are social) from Federal Government who want Capitalist to pay for it. It is all stupid. Socialism was okay until it included "all" American citizens.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
  145. Scott

    Well Jack, it means that corporate greed and capitol hill (also filled with multi-millionaires) have destroyed our country.


    February 5, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
  146. Jake R - DC

    It means that over a third of Americans care about fair and equal treatment. It's clear that letting businesses be run by greedy individuals hasn't been working. My 'socialist' firefighters and police officers are just fine with me. If only we could all have healthcare, no matter what people like Andre Bauer, SC's Lt gov, thinks.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
  147. Ed from Montana

    It means we growing up and realizing that the capitalism is not the end all of everything. At least 36% realize the we are our brothers keeper and we cannot sacrifice each other in the name of unbridled greed.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
  148. Sam Sullivan

    The simple answer to the question is that Americans do not condone the idea of socialism. Presently, our government is attempting to alter the whole health care system. It hurts to say that lately our govermeny is becoming a big sham.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
  149. Fredrik - Swedish in America

    That means 1/3 of Americans actually knows what Socialism is.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
  150. Kizito Ssensalo

    If one third of Americans have a favorable view of socialism while statistically significant, doesn't mean that they are sympathetic to US socialism or supportive of it. I have a favorable view of Islam and Buddhism, but ti doesn't mean that I want it for myself, nor does it mean that I think my country would be better if everyone was Muslim or Buddhist. It just means that I think they are good religions.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
  151. John McCullough

    If only 36% of US citizens have a positive view of socialism then two-thirds are living mentally in the 20th, not the 21st century.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
  152. Ramon VA

    Well Jack if 36% of Americans have a positive view of socialism its doesn't mean anything. These Americans have the right to believe what they want to believe thats why we have freedom of speech. In my opinion there is nothing wrong with socialism just look at Cuba. Everyone gets health care, jobs,homes,food and clothes whats not to love about that.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
  153. Kevin McKenzie

    It means that 36% of the population have no knowledge of economics. Ludwig von Mises, the great free market economist who predicted the collapse of the Soviet Union, showed that socialism and communism cannot sustain itself because of the lack of a profit and loss mechanism. Without a true market the central planners of the socialist state cannot accurately calculate what they need to produce or how much of it. They end up wasting resources, creating massive malinvestment, and ultimately collapsing under their own weight.

    Canton, Ohio

    February 5, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
  154. Sam

    If we do not a corrective measures to our capitalists system the whole country will fall into socialism.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
  155. Jim Green, TX, www.Inclusivism.org

    Jack...like the word "iiberal"–the word "socialism" has been totally distorted by the lunatic right......if by socialism we mean the government ownership of business....that is a bad idea–best to leave that to free enterprise, where competition will keep the price low–except for our healthcare that has been ruined because it is a "for profit" business-as for the word liberal--Jesus was a liberal.....

    February 5, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
  156. Mikhail from New York City

    It means that the Cold War is finally over. If you look at it just in terms of definition, there's really no reason people should have a negative connotation with the idea. It's all just political fear-mongering, and the more people know, the less of an effect words like "socialism" will have. I'm sick and tired of these terms being used by conservative politicians to scare American voters, and I find it just as objectable that Americans still find this word taboo.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
  157. Brett - Denver

    It means at least 36% of the population aren't paranoid Tea Partyers who have no idea what socialism really is. Socialism in it's true form has hardly ever been practiced by any governments. Socialism is not the same thing as Communism. Communism hijacked the principles of Socialism and subverted them into something evil. What little Socialism is being practiced today mostly involves giving all people adequete health care and care for their old age. And this is bad?

    February 5, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
  158. Jennifer

    Given that the majority of jobs not at risk and kept sacred thus far are with the military, public school system, police and fire departments, it makes total sense. That people are afraid still of the word socialism, is crazy. Most I know against the federal gov't get a check for their services rendered unto it. Give me a break! If we don't take care of our own here with our collected mutual tax dollars, then who's going to take care of us? Oh, I know, COMMUNIST CHINA will be there for us!

    February 5, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
  159. Pastor Dan

    I met this young guy with a smiling demeanor just after he arrived in Chicago. He said, "Hi." I said, "Hi." Little did I know that there was an evil socialist lurking behind the disarming smile. Just don't touch my Medicare!

    February 5, 2010 at 7:19 pm |
  160. LasVegasBum

    It means that the American Dream is dying for a large number of Americans. We've sold the idea that rugged independence and hard work will result in a great life for people. The reality is the vast majority of Americans have seen their hard work turned into a struggle for a modest lifestyle. People are waking up to the realisation that the rich has their throat on the jugular of this country and they are sucking this country dry.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:19 pm |
  161. David


    Its means that 2/3 of the country DOESN"T have a favorable view of socialism. It means that more people DON'T have a favorable opinion than voted for Obama, Bush Jr, Clinton or Bush Sr. This poll is pointless. 46% of the country voted for John McCain. Oooooooo whats that mean?!?!

    I'd also like to see how many of that 1/3 also had favorable views of free enterprise and small business, because if they do, then they are just confused.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:19 pm |
  162. Dan McMenamin

    I am so ashamed of my generation – the children of the 60's and 70's – unbelieveable they became greedy theives willing to take advantage of everything possible.
    The current social structure has not punished these actions that have placed this country and the world into the peirlious situation.
    This increases the shift to the left – socialism? What works best?
    To have the masses trompled on by these few? Or equality for all?
    When will these people be brought to justice?
    AIG takes more even after the bailout? Something is wrong with this picture.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:19 pm |
  163. Well Traveled

    Hi Jack,

    It's simple, they have been or know some one who has visited Europe.

    Well Traveled, Miami Beach

    February 5, 2010 at 7:19 pm |
  164. David

    What it really means it that nothng much has changed. We are a divided country with a vast difference in opinion as to what the direction we should be heading, and how we should get there. By the way, we were told time and again the the election of Obama would unite the country. That was, of course ludicris. We are now more divided than ever!

    February 5, 2010 at 7:19 pm |
  165. tricia monier

    What it means Jack is that only 64% of americans have more than half of a brain.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:19 pm |
  166. buck shoupe

    Jack, this means that 1/3 of Americans sincerely care about the health and welfare of their fellow man/person

    February 5, 2010 at 7:19 pm |
  167. Sam in Oklahoma

    It means that the term "socialism" is overused. Try asking a few Americans what socialism is. "I dunno, it's bad" will be pretty common. So, when some people – maybe a bit less than 36% – hear about Obama's policies being "socialist", they think, "Well, if an inexpensive health insurance option is socialist, then I must be a socialist".

    February 5, 2010 at 7:19 pm |
  168. Jonny P

    In a world filled with wonderful diversity, we have to remember that there are some people who are just aren't blessed with intelligence. It doesn't mean they are nessesarily "stupid", just perhaps either uninformed or ignorant. Maybe they cannot relate to how what happens in the Big picture truely affects their own lives.
    Perhaps it's just a matter of singular perception. I just didn't relaize it was 1/3 of the public (polled).

    February 5, 2010 at 7:19 pm |
  169. Ray Victory Vero Beach, FL

    It means that 56% are bound up with antiquated opinions based on false assumptions fueled by the rhetorical excesses of those calling themselves "conservative" when they do not apparently understand the meaning of that epithet as well. The bandying about of labels only confuses since the labels mean very different things to different people. It is long past time to stop the demonizing with rhetorical labelling and embrace a pragmatic approach to policy discussion. Rabble rousing has been seen to be the road to ruin and if we continue on that path we're dead meat.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:19 pm |
  170. Dave

    It means that America is growing up. I wish I could say the same for my country. We are run by the same neo-con scum that you tossed out.

    Vancouver BC

    PS- the Olympics suck.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:20 pm |
  171. Darwyn Herbst

    Jack please ask viewers for their view,positive or negative, about faschism and do they relate thie form of government to the Bush administration?

    February 5, 2010 at 7:20 pm |
  172. Andy LaPorte

    It means they understand what Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid mean to the security and well being of millions of Americans. And we no longer have a true Democracy and we never will again. Do they call the bank bailouts socialism too.? I wonder.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:20 pm |
  173. Les

    It means that 36% of Americans are not under the propagandized spell of capitalism and can use their brain to think for themselves.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:20 pm |
  174. Randy

    What amazes me the most is not that so many Americans, such as myself, have a positive-or at least open-minded view of socialism, but how many Americans are totally ignorant about what socialism really means. I keep hearing about how president Obama is supposedly attempting to implemen socialist agendas, but the fact is that government control of capitalist enterprise is technically FACISM, not socialism! People really need to educate themselves about political philosophy before they shoot their mouths off about the current state of our nation.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:20 pm |
  175. Mike M Lady Lake, Fl

    It just means that 66% of the people don't know what Socialism is. I guess they don't like insurance companies, all forms of Gov, and all people paid by the Gov.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:20 pm |
  176. JH McKee

    jack: It means 1/3 are wise and educated and 2/3 are stupid and uneducated.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:20 pm |
  177. Mike Barnes

    Jack-What it means is that at least 64% and more likely 99% of Americans are ignorant of the definition of socialism, which is- Government ownership and administration of the means of production.

    The closest we come right now is the bailed out car companies, but it is not the norm and everyone knows it. The Republicans are exploiting the peoples lack of knowledge.

    How we as a nation will ever get everyone on the same page with all the misinformation and the feckless media I do not know.

    Mike in Phoenix

    February 5, 2010 at 7:21 pm |
  178. Bill (McLaughry)

    First define "socialism." The term invites ignorant revulsion and instant adoration, but only on the fringes. My guess is that most of the affirmative responses come from people who have been in Europe, where a great variety of variations of it are practicing successfully. Try the UK, Sweden, Norway, France, Germany...etc. Define the term, then take another poll!

    February 5, 2010 at 7:21 pm |
  179. Jean-Bernard

    Canada is often seen as a socialist country by republicans because we have socialized medicine, 'generous' welfare, over-regulation, and even no absolute free speech protection. Strangely, my house did not lost value in the past decade, we were not as creative to come up with sub-prime mortgages, no banks went belly up, we have universal (although imperfect) healthcare, before this recession, we were paying out our dept, and 'only' 8.3% unemployment. I guess, socialism isn't that bad after all.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:21 pm |
  180. Curtis in Kansas

    Jack – It's really not fair for the president's critics to call him a socialist – if they were really paying attention they'd realize he's not... he is however... a statist.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:21 pm |
  181. champ

    It means people don't trust corporate America ie., insurance company's and banks and want Government to step in.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:21 pm |
  182. Gary in Milwaukee

    I'm not sure it means a thing to be concerned about, Jack. To paraprase Sir Winston Churchill " if you're young and not liberal you have no heart. If you're 30 and not a conservative you have no brain." I'd be interested in a demographic breakdown that compares those who view socialism favorably to those that don't.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:21 pm |
  183. Mario Giordano

    Only 36% understand the meaning of the word when discussed under a capitalistic democratic nation like ours that has socialistic programs like SS & medicare. The 64% would riot if these programs ended because they are "socialist".

    February 5, 2010 at 7:21 pm |
  184. Sam Sullivan

    Moreover, let us look at other socialist countries (like Hungary). Socialism can easily be confused with communism and the reason being is that it is just the "nicer way" of putting communism. In these countries, people are paid substantially less.. And yes... Why should a hard working American who has succeeded in making himself wealthy, have to suffer for those to the contrary. I know it sounds harsh, but it's reality and why should we digress from what our founding fathers hoped for?

    February 5, 2010 at 7:21 pm |
  185. Ann

    It means that 36% of the population are smart and progressive. Maybe if more people were socialists...we could actually get health care fixed!

    February 5, 2010 at 7:21 pm |
  186. Jim

    I think it is an opportunity for hope. I believe most people perceive "socialism" a little different than the classical definition. They want to believe that working together for a common good and sharing in the solution might just be the answer to our economic future and a sustainable way of life.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:21 pm |
  187. Matt- Philadelphia

    It means I won't be able to sleep tonight....

    February 5, 2010 at 7:22 pm |
  188. Sam Gomez, College Student in DC

    Well, the simple answer is that 36% of Americans might actually know what modern socialism is. A far cry from the teachings of Marx and Mao–which can be characterized by government ownership of the means of production to offset the power of the bourgeois–modern socialism simply implies that the government steps in to correct industries where the "free" market disadvantages a greater proportion of citizens than it advantages. SOCIAL Security and Medicare are examples of two such programs. Both programs serve their purpose and help provide financial security to seniors so that they need not depend on their pensions, investments, or younger relatives to survive. Many seniors are opposed to a "government run" healthcare program because they view it as "socialism." But if you tried take away their medicare, you would have to pry it from their cold, dead fingers.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:22 pm |
  189. shelly

    Jack. It's from all of us that get bummed out hearing about people that own 8 houses when we know 8 families that don't have any home.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:22 pm |
  190. David P Vernon

    Tucson, AZ Considering that most Americans cannot correctly define "socialism", these results are meaningless. For that matter, most Americans cannot define capitalism, entrepreneurship, free market, recession, or many other economic terms correctly either, nor identify the rights declared in the Bill of Rights, not recite the Preamble to the Constitution, nor correctly distinguish the words of the Declaration of Independence from the words of the Constitution, nor distinguish between the Constitutional powers of Congress and those of the President. Even the word "conservative" is no longer properly distinguished from "reactionary", much less "liberal" from "progressive." Favorable or unfavorable impressions of incorrectly defined words? Hah!

    February 5, 2010 at 7:22 pm |
  191. Doris Lauter

    Every president has been a socialist if you consider that most of the taxes are paid by the rich, and programs to help the poor have been in place for decades in Medicaid, welfare and others. I am grateful that the government pays my keep in Social Security and Medicare. Where would we be without the "government intervention?"
    Ojai, California

    February 5, 2010 at 7:22 pm |
  192. Booze, Max

    It shows that the US is finally moving away from it's "fascism lite" roots. No other westernized country is anywhere NEAR as right wing as the US, the most right wing party in the USs closest ally, England, would be considered left wing if it were in the states. Compare the US to other westernized countries and you'll find it's extreme in all the wrong ways...

    February 5, 2010 at 7:23 pm |
  193. pat

    Too many people condemn anyone in our society who has to be helped by a government agency. They call them lazy do-nothings or worse. In the current economy, every one of us could be in their place and need the government's help. I don't understand how the haters can roll everyone up in one big package and label them as worthless. There are all kinds of people needing assistance for all kinds of reasons. It would be a terrible place to live if we just said everyone has to take care of themselves. Do you really want to see tent cities, begging on the streets and more and more homeless and hungry? You know, many of the homeless are children. The image in most people's minds is a man who doesn't want to work and who takes advantage of taxpayers' money. Whole families suffer in homeless poverty, many through no fault of their own. I am proud of any help my government gives its people, since goverrnment is of the people, by the people and for the people.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:23 pm |
  194. Dan McMenamin

    The health care system currently in place is out of control.
    The population has grown – change is required.
    I am for socialized medicine. I am against insurance companies, check the pay checks their upper management receive...
    If people manipulate the system for their own benefit and do not meet the needs of the populous then it is necessary to change. They (the insurance and medical) people have not brought forth any ideas?

    February 5, 2010 at 7:23 pm |
  195. Joel Burlingham


    The fact that socialism receives the lowest favorability rating in the poll of words probably reflects an historical bias that embraces a simplistic notion of its meaning. It's odd, considering the judeo-christian roots of ethics and morality. Whereas many evangelical Christians and others like to see a congruent overlap of free enterprise and Biblical economics, the fact is that a careful reading of Old Testament wisdom literature as well as New Testament passages dealing with money issues, poverty, etc., line up more closely with socialism than any other perspective.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:23 pm |
  196. Alan in Eureka, CA

    While most people are positive about Capitalism, it comes with certain rules of fairness, like anti-trust legislation. If the Health Insurance Industry refuses to play fair it should be Socialized, or at least treated like a Public Utility Commission and be regulated, since they have no competition and no scruples.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:23 pm |
  197. Harry Butcher - Baltimore, MD


    Don't be too surprised by the results you found. After all, we all still believe in the American Dream. Don't we? Many of us who viewed the Star Trek Series fell in love with Gene Roddenberry's vision of a socially concious future, where the materialism of today has been replaced by the concious drive to better ourselves – the end of poverty, all of our material needs are met, and no greed. The problem is, that world does not exist today! If a future that filled with hope and promise ever has a chance of becoming a reality, then our current selfish attitudes (and many of our beliefs about man) must change. Truth be told, we have a long, long way to go.

    Harry – Baltimore, MD

    February 5, 2010 at 7:23 pm |
  198. Deborah Ballweg Seibert, co

    I think it equates to class envy. People don't want to admit someone else has more than they do, so they want the government to take it away from the" haves" and give it to them since they are too lazy to look after themselves.. Socialism is a way to equalize the weath in their mind. They don't realize that the "haves" work hard for what they get.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:24 pm |
  199. Celine, Md

    Seems like America is getting a clue. We need a safety net as in Europe to protect our citizens, as we are NOT doing now. We've seen what the Free Market does when unregulated. It's time for a change NOW, else we will be a nation of haves that have everything and have nots that have nothing. Hmm, sounds like we're becoming a third-world country. And to all the Obama bashers, where were you when Bush lied and dragged us into unnecessary wars, one illegal, and you believed it? Maybe something else is simmering here and is smelling!

    February 5, 2010 at 7:24 pm |
  200. Gary

    Democracy, rule of the majority for the betterment of the majority, is a form of socialism. We just never seem willing to admit it. A little of it, as with medicine, can be good but too much can be harmful. It's more a question of how much socialism do we like or will we tolerate?

    February 5, 2010 at 7:24 pm |
  201. Marc

    It means that about 1/2 the country is incapable of thinking for itself. I'm pretty sure we knew this already, but this pretty much confirms it. I don't think the entire country should be taken over with socialist policies, but some things certainly should be. Health care and education come to mind. I wouldn't mind paying higher taxes if it means the prohibitive prices of these things went away. I guess the other 2/3s of the people in this poll have forgotten about the highway system, social security, and state liquor stores.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:24 pm |
  202. Barry Pearce

    As Supposed leaders of the western world, now one third of you now realise that the rest of the western world is correct. two thirds to go.
    Barry Bunker hill IL

    February 5, 2010 at 7:24 pm |
  203. Walter


    38% of us must read the reports about universal, equitable and effective care not only for health, but in terms of retirement, transportation, etc.; all of which seems to work to everyone's benefit in many European Democratic Socialist countries such as Germany, France, Sweden, Denmark, Italy, and yes even Great Britain. There appears that no country is as good for the rich as the U.S; nor as bad for the poor and less fortunate.


    February 5, 2010 at 7:24 pm |
  204. Nick, Longmont CO

    Hi Jack,

    It means that 36% of the population no longer accepts the brainwashing of our government (and schools) that equate socialism with communism with totalitarianism. It also means that people are starting to believe that unfettered, unregulated capitalism is just as bad as the Soviet planned economies of the past. Finally, those who grew up after the fall of the Soviet Union/ Waraw Pact have no idea what it was like to grow up with government brainwashing against socialism. Today, the new brainwashing is anything that has to do with the Muslim world.

    By the way, Jack, people in Western Europe who live in so called "socialist countries", seem to love their health care, the idea if the get unemployed they don't lose their home, get sick they don't go bankrupt, don't get burned out because they get much more time off, etc. So, is socialism really that bad, especially after what the crooks did on Wall Street?

    February 5, 2010 at 7:24 pm |
  205. Ted William Daniel

    Jack, it means that some Americans are too young to remember the Cold War, and believe the non-sense about Obama's proposals being Socialism. They think, "If that's what Socialism is, then Socialism must not be too bad."

    In reality, all of this is nonsense, because Socialism is when the state owns all the sources of income and production. In the case of healthcare, the government would own the hospitals, clinics, and drug companies, and doctors and nurses would become government employees. If any Republican or Tea Party member believes that is what Obama has proposed, they are listening too closely to their own propaganda.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:24 pm |
  206. Warren in Ohio

    Because of bad education and great propaganda, most of us don't really know the difference between socialism and rheumatism. If we had great education and poor propaganda, then nearly everyone except Wall Street tycoons would be in favor of socialism, the only way out of the mess capitalists put us in.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:24 pm |
  207. Kevin

    If things don't line up for you...it's Socialism. If it gives something to someone, it's Socialism. Look, just move away and you don't have to worry about it.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:25 pm |
  208. Alicia


    It means that 36% of Americans actually know what socialism is and realize that some of the countries with the highest levels of human development and standard of living are actually socialist Scandinavian and European countries.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:25 pm |
  209. Nolan Dalla

    NINE of the top TEN nations with the highest standards of living in the world today largely practice socialism, including Iceland, Norway, France, Switzerland, Japan, Holland, Ireland, Sweden, and Canada. Nationalized health care, outstanding mass transit, responsbile growth - why are so many Americans fearful of progress?

    Nolan D.
    Las Vegas, NV

    February 5, 2010 at 7:25 pm |
  210. Carl in San Diego

    Jack, right now the question should be, socialism by the Democrats, or Theocracy by the Republican's. Neither party is working for the people, only their own gains. It should be noted that our federally elected officials, both Democrats and Republicans are monetarily set for life, they vote for their own pay raises, and set laws that do not affect them (retirement age, social security, etc.). That is more socialism than democratic.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:25 pm |
  211. Jesse Phoenix, AZ

    Socialism advocates that production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole. That doesn't sound too bad after continual deception and failure of leaders in many aspects of our economy. From Enron and Worldcom to Bernie Madoff and the recent charges filed against Bank of America, many have shown that greed outweighs the responsibility that goes along with their decisions. They dont care about the people their decisions affect as long as they make a profit. Disgusting!

    February 5, 2010 at 7:25 pm |
  212. jeff, Ft. Lauderdale

    The people that say they have a positive view of socialism... I would guess that most of them couldn't even tell you what the Webster's definition of socialism is. They probably think it's all about the nirvana good things we can do for the world, while completely ignoring that those social things all cost real money.... someone elses in most cases.

    A perfect example of socialism and Progressive-ism on steriods is California... the state's economy is a disaster. Funny thing is, the people that put it there, still think they're doing a good job. Sad fact is, Washington Progressives are taking us down the same hole, and they also think their doing a good job. This is your government on drugs!

    February 5, 2010 at 7:26 pm |
  213. Jake

    It obviously means that 1/3 of Americans embrace things such as free housing, free healthcare, and other government handouts that will just encourage more reliance on the federal government at the expense of the hardworking taxpayer.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:26 pm |
  214. Clint

    It means Karl Marx wasn't such a dunce as Glenn Beck likes to portray him to be. As industrialized, capitalist nations gain more capital, it will lead to Proletariat ownership of many industries (i.e. public education). Inevitably Government will cease to exist and we will live in an (ideally) classless society.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:26 pm |
  215. Charles in Lawrence, NJ

    It means we are maturing as a country, socialism cuts costs to serve citizens and capitalism serves corporations. We live between greed and need but still get something for our socialist taxes, road & bridges, national defense, schools, fire & police etc., all the things people here take for granted. We also have a power through capitalism that we hesitate to use, incredible military power, terrorists could learn a thing or two from America if it so chose. Terrorists should be grateful we’re good people, wars are about breaking stuff and killing people, not building nations.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:26 pm |
  216. Bud Rupert, Reston, VA

    It menas that more people are beginning to realize that we are under going a structural chnage in this country. Every country goes through it if they are around long enough. It's our turn

    Alexnader Hamilton and John Maynard Kaynes lool like the geniouses that they were

    February 5, 2010 at 7:26 pm |
  217. Allen

    It means, Jack, that much of our country has no idea what socialism actually is. Those opposed, in theory, to socialistic principles are clueless to the fact that they probably already support these types of policies. It's called corporate welfare.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:26 pm |
  218. Mark

    If they only knew that socialism is not communism, the percentage of positives would be a lot larger. Socialism tries to distribute wealth more fairly and it is not against private ownership or capitalism as such. USA in a certain way, is a socialist country or try to be, haven´t you heard of the Obama´s health program?

    February 5, 2010 at 7:26 pm |
  219. David M.

    Socialism and capitalism can be successfully combined. One ideology does not exclude the other. Capitalism is a proven way to create an economic powerhouse, and socialism is a proven way to provide the basic necessities of life for all of a country's citizens. By tempering capitalism with socialism, we can create a strong base on which Americans can build their fortunes and live the American dream.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:26 pm |
  220. Cathy in Alabama

    It means that the conservatives are correct when they say that Democrats are pushing Socialism, right Jack?

    February 5, 2010 at 7:26 pm |
  221. jose bonifacio

    Why do 36% of Americans have a positive view of Socialism? Simple, we are tired of watching bailout companies laugh in our faces, our government becoming bigger and bigger and spending money as if we could print as much as we want and just spend it. But on the other hand, they just don't know what happens to people in China, Venezuela and Cuba among other countries, we should never fall in that trap no matter what out government let these capitalist oportunistic, abusive companies do to our country. Socialism is a destruction of our way of life as bad as it is now, a democracy is best, our best to the world.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:27 pm |
  222. John, Fort Collins, CO

    This means the majority of Americans are moderate in their views for what is best for our country. In my life I have been a registered Independent, a Republican, and currently I'm a Democrat. If healthcare reform had held to its principles, and if lobbyists didn't exist, and if our elected representatives cared only about the people they represent, and Wall Stree wasn't all about feathering their own nests, and other such fairy tales; out of human kindness we would all be somewhat socialist. But, alas, here we are.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:27 pm |
  223. Barbara Thesing

    Socialism ha, ha.

    It is the big Corporations that run this country, Who has the money to buy politicians? What do the lobbyist do? Now the Supreme Court ruling that any amount of monies, by big Corporations elect someone of their choice.

    If big Corporations could get buy without paying their worker bee's do you think they would? They would have slave labor. I have seen workers rights erode at alarming speed. Afraid to take coffee breaks even if they have a right. Work longer hours, to hang on to a job and you better not complain or out the door you go. The Corporations say "we didn't say you could not take a break", but you better not.

    Do you think that Goldman Sachs and the other bailout babies would build habit for humanity with bonus money?

    February 5, 2010 at 7:27 pm |
  224. Charles

    Watch that number grow!! It is preferable to the corporate Fascists we have now. Sending jobs overseas, breaking unions and lowering wages.....people will tire of it....time for a revolution!

    February 5, 2010 at 7:28 pm |
  225. Richard, Kankakee, IL.

    Many of the service that we all enjoy are socialist programs and services, take them away and watch people go mad in the streets. If we took out all the socialist programs 95% percent of the people of America would be broke, there would be no middle class to speak of, because we would then have to pay out of pocket for the basics likes roads, police, fire-fighters, our military, and many many other services that make life worth living. This is why the Tea Bag Party is full of nut cases who just have no idea of what they are talking about. But hey lets try and get rid of all of our socialist programs and services, and watch those people go completely mad! Then I will laugh all day long!

    February 5, 2010 at 7:28 pm |
  226. Harry Butcher - Baltimore, MD

    It may mean, there is probably some hope for us (as man) after all.

    Harry – Baltimore, MD

    February 5, 2010 at 7:28 pm |
  227. Cindy

    The word "socialism" has somehow become a scary word.
    And I think many people don't really understand the meaning of the word, but just react to the emotion it elicits.

    Socialism refers to the various theories of economic organization advocating public or direct worker ownership and administration of the means of production and allocation of resources, and a society characterized by equal access to resources for all individuals with a method of compensation based on the amount of labor expended. (from Wikipedia)

    Sounds like a reasonable system, actually.

    Perhaps a new word should be assigned, such as community-ism

    February 5, 2010 at 7:28 pm |
  228. Doris

    Of the 36 % of the population that has a positive view of socialism what is the break down in age groups ? We as a society need to be challenged and not spoon fed from the federal government. What has made America great is aspiration and the freedom that we can become anything we desire with hard work and the fruits of our labor, othewise we quit striving to the best that we can be.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:28 pm |
  229. Patrick W. McGinnis

    I favor HONEST Capitalism, but in recent decades, especially during the Bush/Cheney years, the Republicans have bastardized American Capitalism to allow Wall Street, Bankers, Pharmaceutical Companies and, of course, themselves… to fill their pockets instead of performing their sworn responsibilities to the American People…

    I now think that perhaps a bit of Socialism may be needed to reform the system… Perhaps some good Chinese or Vietnamese Justice also;

    February 5, 2010 at 7:29 pm |
  230. Travis

    Hi Jack,

    What it means is that the United States is no different than a number of other democratic countries. The difference is many of these countries have a separate political party for those who want to express those views, whereas in the U.S. they can only be lumped in with the Democrats. But the American population should not fret, we actually have a socialist party here in Canada (the NDP) and Mr. Obama is not not like them. In fact, the Democrats would have a looooooong way to go before I'd even consider them 'remotely' socialistic.

    Toronto, Canada

    February 5, 2010 at 7:29 pm |
  231. Booze, Max

    Compare the US to Europe, the majority of which is Socialist based, and you'll find that you are actually better set to become successful in those Socialist based European countries than you are in the Capitalist based US...

    February 5, 2010 at 7:29 pm |
  232. Sonja Deaton

    What it means is that many of us recognize there would be no level playing field/equal opportunity without some "socialism" (public fuding) of educaton and health care for example.

    Sonja, Pomona, CA

    February 5, 2010 at 7:29 pm |
  233. Nikki M

    Our tax money already funds baks and corporations, so we have less fear of the consequences of socialism; plus the poorer people are, the more attractive economic equality becomes.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:30 pm |
  234. Ian St.Claire

    Jack, I believe most Americans equate Socialism with some form of Communism.If so, your question may not have an answer.We in Canada are often referred to as Socialists by Americans.In fact we are a free enterprise ,mainly capitalist society with a sevaral social programs for the benefit of our citizens.We regulate our Banks – they still make enormous profits but they weather the Recessions better than any other country's Banking systems.America doesn't have to re-invent the wheel – we'll gladly lend you one of ours.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:30 pm |
  235. Christopher

    I think this is an indication of a gradual sea change in the way people think. Hard-righters tend to equate socialism with communism and these in a purely governing framework. I believe people are starting to realize that socialist programs do not mean a socialist government.

    Afterall, we do have socialist programs for a national postal service, public education, transportation system and more.

    The real resistance to "socialism" and universal health care, et al. is by politicians who benefit directly from money and support from for-profit companies.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:30 pm |
  236. Tanya Wade, Charlestown, Maryland

    It means they should move to Europe if they believe socialism is so good.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:30 pm |
  237. Tanya P Henauer

    It means they like Bernie Sanders, ... it also means they have no idea that there is no left -wing in American Politics; and that Bernie Sanders would be considered a right of center idealist with a social conscience in a direct democracy like my other home, Switzerland (ie Multi-party, 100% left to right spectrum).

    February 5, 2010 at 7:30 pm |
  238. Roger

    Hey Jack,

    I think that it is great that at least 36% of the country understands that is everyone's responsibility to watch out for and take care of their neighbor. It is also means that 64% of Americans still think that protecting the interest of the rich is still what our elected officials should continue to focus on as that seems to be the only thing they can accomplish.


    February 5, 2010 at 7:30 pm |
  239. Sally Agnone

    Because socialism is really believing that everyone deserves a better life. Call it idealism but it's based on the belief that given the right environment and opportunity people can improve their life. That's called governing. Republicans only believe in survival of the fittest. Trust me, I know, I'm surrounded by them!

    February 5, 2010 at 7:30 pm |
  240. MIke Reese

    I don't think that total socialism works any better/worse than total capitalism! The difference is, that both dogmas favor one class of people over the other; i.e. rich vs poor, etc.; which is why there should be a happy medium somewhere in the middle wherin both dogmas have equal signifigance, thus keeping everyone happy!? Perhaps then, our inept politicians could run this country on no more than what is brought in, in taxes and keep their hands off of Social Security!

    February 5, 2010 at 7:30 pm |
  241. Jerry

    Jack, you say 36%, that would be the people that depend on the government for life,Older people, people with needs.And that would include the people that don't have any initiative, or dreams for their lives and want the government to pay their way.And that would include,some of our Senators, and congress people, that see themselves not as represenatives of their regions,But as rulers,Kings,and of course the Queens Like Nancy Pelosie.That is about 36%. Jerry/Iowa

    February 5, 2010 at 7:31 pm |
  242. Allan Farman

    The immediate problems in the USA come from inadequately constrained private enterprise not from excess Government. We do have socialism in the USA today, but it is restricted to bailing out corporations that while capitalistic are first in line for public handout. Without that "socialism" and unreasonable low interest rates of return from banks, the greedy bankers would be out in the gutter where they belong holding tin cups out for change instead of creaming off millions in ill-earned bonuses.

    Don't get me wrong, I am in favor of a mixed economy, but would rather see the socialistic elements applied to serving the needy and sick rather than bailing out the ilk of AIG or GM.

    I am toatlly opposed to giving any public monies to private charities – especially if these are faith-based and come with an ulterior motive to convert. The Government should be of and for the npeople and not need private "tax haven religions" to intervene in this process.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:32 pm |
  243. giancarlo

    i was a convicted communist, but applications on real economy and mainly in human being failed. Now just looking best sistems the capitalism had a better destiny, but look to china their are technically communists but use capitalism 'tools' just to boost their economy. I think Americans have finally understand that capitalism can work better with socialist 'tools', in other words remaining a capitalistic system but merged with the better of socialism. A new assett like this could garantee more stability, giustice, equality and mainly susteinable growt that is the main matter nowadays. Between China and US certainly US for me!!

    February 5, 2010 at 7:32 pm |
  244. Alex de Large

    Most American don't pay enough in taxes to cover their share of defense spending in this country(currently at ~$4000 for every man, woman and child). Add to that education spending, etc and this puts the majority of American in the socialist camp.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:33 pm |
  245. Brian

    Americans have become so shallow and ill-informed that they don't know what socialism is – if they did the percentage that have a favorable opinion would be higher.

    The average American can't think for themselves and just want somebody to tell them what to think...too bad they are listening to Rush and Glen Beck.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:33 pm |
  246. Jim McQuiggin

    What it means is that many Americans look at "Socialist Europe" and wonder what's so bad about what they're doing. Everyone has access to quality healthcare, mass transportation that makes most of Europe immune to high gas prices, a childcare system that puts ours to shame, an education system well beyond what US students get, their life-expectancy outstrips ours, a superior standard of living available to everyone and not just a lucky few - and most of all, governments that appear to actually get things done.
    In the meantime, our politicians are so bogged down in ideology, buzz words, sound bytes and sewing fear, they can't reform healthcare, create jobs or do much of anything beyond protecting their re-election chances.
    Given the choice of a system that works (in Europe) and our own completely dysfunctional system, it's no wonder more Americans take a positive view of Socialism.
    Jim McQuiggin, Pagosa Springs, CO

    February 5, 2010 at 7:33 pm |
  247. Brian Smith PhD

    Like you say Jack, big business, connected at the hip with the Federal Government, spells fat cat abuses much like million dollar Wall Street bonuses. All that blurs capitalism to the point Small Business, Free Enterprise, and Entrepreneurs appear to be local where brother helps brother and it seems to be “social” or socialistic. Further, interest in socialism comes from people realizing our current system is hopelessly broken. They think perhaps it is time to look elsewhere. For example, socialized medicine looks attractive to the average family of four having to spend $24,000 a year for health insurance under our current system.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:33 pm |
  248. Steven S

    Ahay?... this subject certainly stirs the melting pot of this countries rot. Many see our country as already heading to a system based on government control of the production and distribution of services and goods; I kinda favor it when compared to what 'free enterprise' has done to this country. I disagree with alot of viewers claiming it's the 'lazy' Americans that make up this 36%. 'Socialized medicine' seems to work just fine in Canada and Sweden, maybe it could be the answer to this health care debate; capitalism, greed and corruption does'nt seem to be getting us anywhere

    February 5, 2010 at 7:33 pm |
  249. Kathy Simmons

    Americans tend to equate "socialism" with communism with little theoretical understanding of what this term means or worse yet, translates to real life. Having lived in socialist systems in Europe, let me promise you, health care is superior and affordable if not free. Imagine major surgery without bankruptcy or worry. Imagine $20 doctor home visits? Imagine not having to insure your health JUST to prevent bankruptcy. University education is affordable and accessible with no burdensome education "mortgages" to repay. Health care and Education are rights for all and not privileges. And yes, citizens pay for it collectively, but NOT exorbitantly. HOW can this be "bad." As the USA continues its rapid and steep decline, we might look toward socialist systems for ways to pull ourselves out of this debacle and head toward a healthier, better educated and more equitable system for all. Until citizens both understand "socialism" AND experienced it personally, all their comments are dangerous based in ignorance and misinformation.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:34 pm |
  250. Brian

    Wow, 36% that's frightening. You probably heard of the professor who performed an experiment in socialism. First exam, he gave everyone a C because that's the way socialism works. However, those who worked hard and performed well were really upset ; on the other hand, those who didn't study much were quite happy. Next exam, fewer people studied and everyone got an average of D. By the last exam no one was studying and everyone got an average of F. Great system eh? Unfortunately its the end product of a failing democracy.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:35 pm |
  251. Michele

    I am a Canadian, living in Texas – all legally by the way.
    I was Vice President of a hotel company on the New York Stock Exchange
    I have Multiple Sclerosis. I walk, golf, renovate houses etc. No one would know I had MS by looking at me, yet I can not get any kind of personal insurance in this country – health, life, disability. The majority of bankruptcies in this country are for medical reasons.
    It was never an issue for me in Canada.
    I am terrified of getting sick here. All MY HARD EARNED money will disappear. A country can have social programs and still be a capitalist country.. The two are not mutually exclusive. Other wise it will always be – I have mine – screw you, until you are in a bad situation. Take an inteligent gander to your neighbors to the north. –
    Don't assume all democrats are not willing to work. We are just not as greedy as some other folks. We care for our fellow human beings, There, but for the grace of God, go you.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:36 pm |
  252. Richard, Kankakee, IL.

    Maybe all of those companies like Microsoft would not exists today if it were not for the Socialist acts of our government giving them money to get a start in business in the first place. But hey they do not care that is why they are trying to get more foreigners in country to get the jobs that we have left!

    February 5, 2010 at 7:36 pm |
  253. Barbara Thesing

    Does anyone know who much the two wars are costing? Who benefits from war. Could it be the War Profiteers? I wonder who that could be?

    How come Russia and China are not in a war. The two countries we have a war in, is much closer to their borders.

    When they say American interests in a country, they really mean Corporate America interests.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:36 pm |
  254. Steve from Willcox, AZ

    36% of the polled respondents understand what socialism is and that the US is a Democratic Socialist State. We have Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Welfare programs for Americans and special programs for illegal Cubans.

    So this all means that 56% of Americans probably should go back to school and take some social and political science classes.


    February 5, 2010 at 7:36 pm |
  255. Bernie of Lowell, MA

    We use extremes these days. What happened to 'moderate' and 'socialist'?

    In these days of scare tactics, we equate 'moderate with 'liberal', so what's the big fuss about equating 'socialist' with 'communist'?

    February 5, 2010 at 7:36 pm |
  256. Barb Coleman

    The 36% of Americans that have a positive view of socialism are probably liberals who want the government to take care of them....such as the ACORN type of people....those who organized in large numbers to demand what they want from our government. Sometime our government has to realize that the middle class Americans, a group continously getting smaller, can only take care of so many.....aren't they smart enough to know that they are bleeding us dry? All of this wonderful socialist government has just about bankrupted this country....soon none of us will have anything.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:36 pm |
  257. Michael VanZant

    It means that 36% of Americans know what Socialism really means.
    A government structured to represent all people, not just the wealthier of that society and to help all its citizens from birth to death. This includes affordable higher education, universal health care and financial assistance for its elderly. Too many people equate Socialism with Communism. This is due to decades of ant-Communism and Socialism rhetoric. However, the problem with all government is greed and power, so we need to eliminate these before a true Socialistic form of government would function realistically instead of theoretically.
    64% of Americans prefer the Dog Eat Dog American way of life.

    Michael VZ

    February 5, 2010 at 7:37 pm |
  258. Ronnie

    Despite what people believe its not a bad thing and their country has adopted traits from it long ago. Our Founding Fathers even had socialist ideas. This poll shows how many people don't even no what it is, but only that there followers use it as an "evil" word.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:38 pm |
  259. David

    Ya know Jack,
    I can see why 36% agree. In this economy, folks that have nothing now need some form of survival. Clearly those that disagree, have college degrees, safe jobs and have not been effected. Until you are put in the position of a total change of life and no idea without at least a JOB...how do you vote Jack? I just want to know your thoughts please? BTW....I love your show, especially how you tell it like it is.

    Smyrna, TN

    February 5, 2010 at 7:38 pm |
  260. Barbara

    I'm guessing that those 36% are shell-shocked at where capitalism has brought us, almost to our knees, meaning the economic meltdown we are struggling to recover from. Don't get me wrong, I am for free enterprise and capitalism and each person's right to pursue his dreams and to soar to his highest height but not on the backs of those less fortunate. There are necessarily social segments of our lives such as Medicare, Social Security and others that no one will deny is vital. There is also good argument for social regulations that prevent greedy mercenaries from putting the entire nation at risk as they did in the recent past. If this is the outlook that makes it appear that 36% of the population thinks favorably of socialism then I don't think it's socialism but simply a balancing phenomena. We have to find a middle ground between the two extremes.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:38 pm |
  261. garrett

    there needs to be a rigorous definition of what socailism is. also there needs to be a rigorous definitionof what conservativism and liberalism are. in political science liberialism and conservativism are dependant upon what is traditional what is non traditional. What is traditional in the US? Also there needs to be fairness consistance within the country. Americans are scared of socialism as a term because in WWII and the Cold War – socialism was the enemy. Socialism is vary traditional in the US. There is a confusion of terms here with in pop culture. socialism is conservativism and "conservativism" is really liberialism. Meaning, that a huge government budget is the norm. socialism is the dominant political idealogy in the world today. europe and asia are socialistic. the us has been socialistic for a long time. the essential problem here is that there is a confusion of terms. The media has miss led Americans in these areas because of a lack of understanding. The main problem with socialism is the type of economy that develops and that is a command economy. some will benefit from government spending and others wont benefit as much. there will be favoritism. There needs to be consistance! just like in the nba, the referees need to be consistant. there needs to be fairness. Don't be mistaken, big defense spending is socialistic!!

    February 5, 2010 at 7:38 pm |
  262. William Courtland


    Socialism is just a word: yet describes anything where more than one person is required.

    We have a problem because we attribute this word to nations and individuals, while the word is just a definition.

    Team sports require socialism, All Religion and Government requires socialism, all coporation requires socialism. Without this truth of co-operation involved you would never see a football game happen.

    To have a totally socialist government would be nearly impossible today: the idea where no money exists, where the government is not fascist yet all things get accomplished... Government holds many titles: and in truth the strongest governments will cover them all. Plutocracies, and anarchies, utilitiarian, and proletarian, Plebiean and Autocratic... Monocratic and Triumvirate... Republic and democratic, scientific, and theophilosophical...

    To have a government answer the call of the many: to form a better and more perfect union... It would offer a more stable format of governance. Give more direction to jurisprudence, and true jurisdiction.

    The only question is: how many socialist also gradutated from sociology?

    February 5, 2010 at 7:40 pm |
  263. Joseph K

    It might mean that 36% of those polled realize that a good gov't has a mix of socialist programs, and that although capitalism is key, you can't just have a pure capitalism system and expect it to work well. The 58% either are living a lie in that we don't have, in some part, already socialism, or they are too dumb to know it. Certainly they've been completely indoctinated as we all were growing up to believe that USA is a 100% capitalist society, and that it is the only and best way.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:40 pm |
  264. RG, California

    It means the same thing that the recent PPIC poll in California (largest population state) says about voters knowlege. Only 28% correctly id'd the largest source of state govt revenue as the personal income tax. With regards to budget priorities, only 16% correctly id'd K-12 funding as comprising the largest budget chunk while 49% thought it was prisons, which is actually in fourth place amongst spenidng. Finally, from the PPIC poll "On the issue of long-term reform of the budget process, most (72%) Californians believe that they—not their leaders—should make reform decisions at the ballot box. " Talk about making informed decisions!

    February 5, 2010 at 7:40 pm |
  265. Debi

    I am an American citizen who grew up in a country where people were tough, self-sufficent individuals who knew they could achieve any thing in life with hard work, not an entitlement. Our Democratic educators indoctrinated that 36% that you speak of.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:41 pm |
  266. Nancy New Jersey

    I'm wondering what the response would have been if the question was "Do you believe the government should provide for the common good?"

    February 5, 2010 at 7:41 pm |
  267. blair in canada

    Yup jack socialism is terrible I live in canada I have universial health care, our universities are subsidized so students only pay a percentage of actual cost per year in tuition, When a family has a baby they get a federal tax credit of 288.00 per month for that child the amount decrease to 45.00 per month when child hits 18 so have 3-4 kids theres another 1000 bucks to live in, we have a canada wide GST good and services tax on many items for the lower incomes we get a rebate every quarterly so i get a federal/provincial rebate of GST and PST of 120.20, 4 times a year,
    my next cheque is April 5th or 6th 2010.
    Get americans who have due to their jobs lived and worked in Canada ask them what its like living in a socialist country?
    Americans say oh ya sure you canadians can brag we defend you, well Canada dont care who defends us, put simply Russia invaded canada america will wipe us back to the stone age, should america seize canada for its resources and Russia will return the favour and bombs us also back to the stone age so we dont have to worry no one will invade us, and we can enjoy the fruits of our labour, and if you folks wanna enjoy what your taxes get paid for come to Canada, we dont have an iraqi war to pay for we dont go off provoking people to attack us, and we are close ya can still travel home to visit family who may wanna stay. Yup we welcome you folks forget the republic and come live in the confederation welcome to Canada!

    February 5, 2010 at 7:41 pm |
  268. Jon S.Pridham

    36%! are you sure Jack? Wow that makes me feel very hopfull, perhaps instead of that group of right-wingers (Tea Baggers) having all the media attention, maybe the 36% could unite and have a voice to be heard. Because we live in a time when great things could be done, but for the price tag.

    Jon S.Pridham
    Kittery ME

    February 5, 2010 at 7:42 pm |
  269. Bernie of Lowell, MA

    Follow the sociopath away from socialism.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:42 pm |
  270. R L Knapp

    If 36% of Americans have a positive view of Socialism, then I assert that it is time for a modern Continental Congress. We need to seriously comtemplate the dissolution of our current Union.

    Face it, we can not work together for our common good. It is time to part amically, while we are still able to do so.

    Many Americans are ready for a second revolution. Our Federal government has devolved into a self-propagating entity that cares first and foremost about retaining and expanding its' powers, while trampling over the very ideals in the Preamble and in the Constitution itself. In Washington DC our politicians may or may not be violating the letter of the laws they write, but they violate the spirit of the law daily.

    I think the 36% who view Socialism favorably should be allowed to go their own way to try to realize their utopian ideal.

    Points of view are so divergant that nothing gets done and special intrest groups are permitted to highjack the whole process because they have plenty of lucre and who of us has no love of money or issue close to our hearts?

    Bust this thing up, it has gotten too big and out of control. How could we have gotten to this point; a nation with the worlds most potent economy a debtor nation?

    RL Knapp
    Carrollton, Texas

    February 5, 2010 at 7:43 pm |
  271. Doug Ramsey

    It means that 36% acknowledge that our country has a few popular social programs. Certian programs must be socialistic (financed through taxes) such as Social Security, Medacare, Education and Defence spending. . It is too bad that the Republicans demonize Socialism. Supply and demand works very well until programs like Health care become more than we can afford. That is why we need a Socialist health care program to force the price down so everyone can be covered.
    If our current political landscape acknowledged this fact, then we could concentrate on making our social programs work better without threating our Capitalist country! Our policies need to continue to support Capitalism to pay for the Social programs!

    February 5, 2010 at 7:43 pm |
  272. JJ

    36% of the people care about Americans as a whole. Others talk bad about it but I don't hear any of those against voluteering to give up their pension, social security, child care deductions, medicare, etc. Everyone want what their's but don't anyone else to have. Sounds like they have been brainwashed and don't know when some1 is talking about them. By they way I work everyday and pay taxex

    February 5, 2010 at 7:44 pm |
  273. Aleksei Dragonov in Alaska

    Jack it means simply this, great things are on its way for america. I am a communist-Socialist i wont lie. It would be terrific if the poll said Socialism is viewed 60% positive more then negative. Socialism is the way and we can only improve this great nation by taking on the ways are great ancestors had to. Theres nothing more proud then working hard to improve your nation and feeling proud you were part of it! Enough said .

    February 5, 2010 at 7:46 pm |
  274. TOM (INDIANA)

    Two third of Americans don't know what socialism is. I'm more worry about smaller government than anything. Hitler was for smaller government {him}. A great Republicans said the government for the people and by the people. Their a place for the government to work for the people and for the BIG CORPORATIONS.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:50 pm |
  275. Greg Turman

    It is my opinion that the websters dictionary defines socialism as the stage between capitalism and communism.

    In a democratic society you need a majority to be in power. In communist countries you do not have nor need a majority, as long as you control the military.

    Besides, socialism is a fad and will be gone in three years when Obama is gone.

    What does 36% mean to me? Nothing as long as we remain a democratic society.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:50 pm |
  276. Geoff

    It means that another civil war is brewing. Two separate ideologies like socialism and capitalism cannot coexist.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:51 pm |
  277. Tony, Saint Charles, IL

    I use to live in the former Soviet Union, and I know why Americans don't think possitive about socialism, because in the Soviet Union they had:
    high and highest education for free,
    condo for free (only to pay for utilities),
    mandotory 28-days-paid vacations,
    free health care,
    right to work (in the Constitution),
    garanted pension (in the Constitution),
    guns regulations
    and many more...

    I know why Americans think possitive about capitalism because Americans have:
    garanted recesion every 5 – 8 years,
    highest paid educaion,
    highest paid health care,
    no rights to work or pension,
    big corporations profiting no mater what,
    no regulations on guns (killings in the schools or work places, gangs)
    and many more...

    February 5, 2010 at 7:53 pm |
  278. Dan H

    Because, Nolan Dalla, these are the very nations about to go bankrupt trying to "live in the style to which they are accustomed". As my daddy used to say, "Learn from other people's mistakes. It's cheaper and it dosen't hurt nearly as much."

    February 5, 2010 at 7:53 pm |
  279. Mike

    It doesn't bother me that there are people in this country that believe Socialism is a positive thing. It takes input from all areas to make up a nation. Besides, several generations now have been educated in school by liberal teachers about the importance of the government in our lives. The media praises every government move into controlling our lives as a wonderful thing. Government passes legislation regulating business, and when it backfires, they blame the business and regulate them further.

    Anyone who disagrees with the latest Socialist program is denounced as a redneck, ignorant, truck driving racist (especially under the current regime) who just doesn't understand the real world.

    The biggest thing you have to know about it is, you can get to Socialism peacefully from a Democracy (or Republic) by voting away your rights, one at a time for the latest freebie from the government. You can't get back to a Democracy or Republic from Socialism peacefully. Socialist regimes don't give up their power easily, and only listen to those who agree with them.


    February 5, 2010 at 7:53 pm |
  280. Dennis/Missouri

    It means America doesn't want socialism. Now that some of Obama's radical policies are out in the open, America has decided this is not the change they voted for.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:53 pm |
  281. Mary Steele Yorktown VA

    It means that the rest are beginning to understand what it really means and what comes next. They start with "giving away" everything to get them on their side, once the program is set it turns to disaster which is what we have now. Massive unemployment, a failing economy and higher health care costs. Did you hear Obama admit that illegals go to the E.R. and we pay for them? He did and add that to massive unemployment-mandating employment verification opens up at least 7 Million jobs for our unemployed and reduces the influx to our E.R., which reduces the cost hospitals are forced to pass on to individuals, and businesses which also pass on the cost to individuals, businesses and state and federal governments. The cost of Socialism with allowing illegals to devastate our economy is in the Billions but doing that one thing takes care of a lot of the consequences!!!!!!!!!!

    Yorktown VA

    February 5, 2010 at 7:54 pm |
  282. Jim Renfro

    Perception is reality..........what is it when an insurance co. raises rates for everyone, because a few have accidents? There are many socialist aspects to our current society. Congress has managed to set themselves apart from society in general, becoming eliteists....What was it when taxpayer money was used to capitalize a bunch of crooks?I would bet that if we ever decided to do socialism, we would'nt be able to get that right either. In our short history we have never been a real democracy, in the truest sense of the word. The ideals put forth by our founders are just that ....ideals. I am reminded that we are inolved in an experiment.....we don't have it right yet.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:57 pm |
  283. angie


    with Republicans getting millions of dollars each from insurance companies to stop the Reform bill that would force insurance companies to stop dropping patients and denying patients life saving procedures

    56% are mad about socialism – instead –

    February 5, 2010 at 7:57 pm |
  284. Ken

    The simple fact is that the main problem with polling people on socialism in the U.S. is that most people don't know what it is. That and the fact that other posters are saying things like "it means that 74% think that socialism sucks" has me worried when the Republicans ramp up the rhetoric. No wonder people accept the GOP's flawed math and arguments without question.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:59 pm |
  285. Rik Koskela

    The Socialist countries of Scandinavia have the highest living standards in the world and surveys have shown that the people living there are very happy with their Socialist health care, education systems, and worker protections. The sooner the USA becomes more Socialist the sooner the American public will become happier, better educated, and healthier.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:59 pm |
  286. James Allen

    Ever notice that the US military is socialist? You get some pay based on property value of your basing, not your work. Zip codes determine housing allowance. Further, you get more housing money were you to have a spouse and for kids. Those people get medical benefits despite the service member doing the same work of a single someone of equivalent rank. Everybody in service and their dependents get universal health care from they government. Everyone serving has a food allowance pay and housing pay separate from their base pay and any hazard pays or combat pays.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:00 pm |
  287. Robert Prahl

    Dear Jack,

    Sorry I missed your question about socialism. Here's my take on it.
    Socialism is typically defined as “the public or collective ownership or control of the means of production, distribution, and exchange, with the aim of operating for use rather than for profit.” Based on that definition, we already have aspects of socialism, that is, not-for-profit social programs run by government. Examples are Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance, and public education, to mention a few. Though these programs may not be perfect, are they not crucial to the well being of Americans who benefit from them? Take Social Security and Medicare away from recipients, for example, and there would be drastic economic consequences and likely a substantial increase in the poverty rate in this country. In short, we have a hybrid economic system, a blend of capitalism and socialism (albeit with capitalism playing the dominant role) because private enterprise is unable or unwilling to provide for all the needs of society.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:01 pm |
  288. angie

    With US Republican Supreme court Justices voting to give corporations power over our Government. These corporations have foreign interests from foreign investments along with buyouts, mergers, and take overs by other companies that have foreign interests or foreign partnerships or take overs by foreign companies some of which is foreign government owned.

    and yet 56% are mad about socialism – instead –

    February 5, 2010 at 8:01 pm |
  289. Kevin Pierce

    The fact that so many people think those that favor Socialism only want it for the "free ride" aspect shows the ignorance surrounding this issue. My son is one of the hardest working individuals I have ever met. He is a small business owner, runs two locally inventoried farmers' markets, which benefits the local farmers immensely, and contributes to charitable funds every month. Yet he can barely afford the proper insurance for him and his wife and child, and has put off going to see a doctor at times because of the worry of not being able to afford it. He is anything but a slacker, and would refuse a "free ride" to his dying day. He is a young man who loves his community and the country he lives in, and only wants to have affordable access to the necessities in life. This delusion that people like him are welfare wanna-bes is not only ridiculous, but hard hearted and nasty as well. And I bet the people who protest the loudest about this are the ones who have all the insurance they need.

    K. Pierce
    Walnut Creek, CA

    February 5, 2010 at 8:02 pm |
  290. Tony in Idaho

    I've lived in Western European countries where democratic socialism has served the people very well for over half a century. They enjoy a quality of life, and especially a level of health care and retirement, that we can only yearn for in this country. Where are Eugene V. Debs and Norman Thomas now that we need them?

    February 5, 2010 at 8:03 pm |
  291. Alexander Tresvig

    I'm having a hard time understanding why socialism is supposed to be such a terrible thing when Norway, arguably a socialist country, has been the highest ranked country on the UN's Human Development Index in the period 2001-2007 and again in 2009.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:04 pm |
  292. Jarrod T

    I think the bigger question is why don't more Americans like the idea of socialism. This is probably because the Christian fundamentalists have brainwashed others into thinking that it would be a bad thing, after all why wouldn't you want people to be against it if you're the one benefiting from capitalism! But it's somehow ok for them to tell everyone that socialists are lazy and don't want to get ahead on their own, when the fact of the matter is they are tired of working their butts off just to try to stay afloat, because of how out of hand inflation is, thanks only to those same greedy fundamentalists! I think that anyone that makes over seven figures a year needs to take a better look at how many people they have to walk on to get there!

    February 5, 2010 at 8:06 pm |
  293. william maxwell

    It means that 66.6 precent of Americans are ignorant. They should look around and see public schools, medicare, public highways, social security and many other examples of socialism.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:08 pm |
  294. elliot

    As a former teacher it means that 2/3's of Americans were absent from school when that was being taught and therefore politically ignorant. Actually, 2/3's of Americans are politically ignorant regardless of their schooling.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:09 pm |
  295. Katherine Warner

    Regarding socialism. I think it is vital...just like capitalism is. We live in a county that encorporates both. With out socialism, we are living a monopoly game in which there is one winner, and the rest are broke and destitute. Without capitalism, the system loses momentum and people give up. The trick is a recipee that uses the right amount of both.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:09 pm |
  296. Jim

    Socialism is not Communism. It is a system for the "People" where the ALL benefit from the riches of the land and where Goverment provides the things that people can't provide on their own, were neighbors help neighbors and everyone pays their fair share of taxes according to their means.

    Think of what "socialism" projects have brought America. These are things that everyone pays for with their taxes. That makes them socialist.

    – The most powerful Military in the world. (owned by the people)
    – The nation's interstate system of "Free"ways. (owned by the people)
    – The Postal Service that business uses everyday. (owned by the people)
    – The public school system. (owned by the people)
    – Social Security which allows so many people to live today.

    Appreciate what you have.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:11 pm |
  297. Pedro

    Socialism is great in concept, the public is just confused since almost every Communism runs Socialism, therefore for them Socialism is bad.

    Look at Europe, even at our neighbor Canada who has Socialist elements, everything looks more expensive in comparison to the US with higher taxes, but they have a health care we can only dream of, Europe has trains connecting their entire countries and others, Germany recently changed part of their energy infrastructure to green technology and works perfectly. These things and more we cannot do in the US as long as we live in Capitalism where the private business control everything and turn down anything that doesn't benefit them.

    President Obama was elected to change the country for the better, but every time he tries to change something that hasn't worked for years, the congress, house or the public shuts him down. The people ask that the Government fix problems that are bad due to Capitalism and private companies, logical course of action is have the Government take it under it's wing and manage it, but then someone cries "wolf" and it turns into mayhem that we're going into "evil" socialism.

    The country needs fixing one way or another, but the current way isn't working, Capitalism was great back then, but it's not good now.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:11 pm |
  298. Rob from Virginia visiting in Venezuela

    I am one of many Americans visiting Venezuela where they have real socialism baby... ! Here 63% of the citizens hate socialism and your 36% are welcome to come on down and meet Mr. Chavez.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:12 pm |
  299. geoff

    Come on America Wake up! Maybe if there was less focus from the media on entitlements and payoffs and more focus on individual successes and enpowerment, Capitalism will once again rise.

    This 36% needs get off the couch and do something. Stop waiting for people to take care of you. Yeah and this means you too UNIONS, stop whinning about issues and get to work. Why not try a real work week not 25 hours for 40; 40+.

    Socialism is a holding place for Communism.

    I for one won't wear a same colored jump suit and eat government cheese.

    I fear for our Republic.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:15 pm |
  300. Allan

    It means that 36% want others to be responsible for them and in spite keep those struggling to achieve true independence from attaining it because they are having to pay the 36% to be lazy.

    right now we have basically 308 Million citizens but only 107 million taxpayers.. One tax payer is already supporting 2 lazy people!!!

    what quality of life will anyone have went it becomes 1 person supporting 5 people??? People will quit working in mass, because it pays more to be LAZY and get free money from taxpayers.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:15 pm |