53% Say Capitalism Better Than Socialism

Rasmussen Reports of
Thursday, April 09, 2009
Monday, December 29, 2008

In their latest national telephone survey, Rasmussen Reports found only 53% of American adults believe capitalism is better than socialism. Twenty percent (20%) prefer socialism and 27%–almost one third of voters””weren’t sure which is better. However, the question posed by Rasmussen did not define either capitalism or socialism. A quite different result occurred when voters were asked whether they preferred a free market over one managed by the government.

When posed using that terminology just three months ago (Dec. 29, 2008), there was a 27 point swing. Free market received a 70% preference in contrast to the 53% who selected capitalism. Fifteen percent (15%) of Americans said they preferred a government-managed economy, similar to the 20% support for socialism.

Is the fact that a “free-market economy” attracts substantially more support than “capitalism” due to skepticism about whether capitalism in the United States today relies on free markets?
Other survey data supports that notion. Rather than seeing large corporations as committed to free markets, two-out-of-three Americans believe that big government and big business often work together in ways that hurt consumers and investors. Just 14% believe the federal government would do a better job running auto companies, and even fewer believe government would do a better job running financial firms.

Rasmussen Reports