Americans react more favorably to 'socialism' now than they did 19 months ago. While 60% of Americans still have a negative reaction to socialism, 31% responded positively when Pew Research Center asked for their reaction to the word earlier this month. Only 29% reacted positively when Pew asked the same question in May of 2010.
Only three groups of Americans delineated by Pew (liberal Democrats, blacks, and those aged 18-29) had net positive reactions to socialism. But two of those groups (liberal Democrats and those aged 18-29) showed strong growth in their support for socialism.
While socialism only garnered a plurality of positive views among liberal Democrats in 2010 (44%-40%), today a strong majority (59%-33%) supports it. Those aged 18-29 showed an even greater shift. While the young used to have a net negative reaction to socialism (43%-49%), today they view it positively (49%-43%). Black reaction socialism has remained virtually unchanged, only rising two points from 53% positive in 2010 to 55% positive today.
President Obama has significantly increased his class warfare rhetoric over the last year. In Osawatomie, Kansas, earlier this month, Obama said:
In the last few decades, the average income of the top 1 percent has gone up by more than 250 percent to $1.2 million per year. ... And yet, over the last decade the incomes of most Americans have actually fallen by about 6 percent. Now, this kind of inequality -- a level that we haven't seen since the Great Depression -- hurts us all.
Obama has also embraced the Occupy Wall Street movement and their "We are the 99%" motto. At a campaign event earlier this year, Obama told Occupy protesters, "You are the reason I ran for office.”