In the category of you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me-this-can’t-be-right new comes this report from Gallup which claims that about a quarter of both Republican party members and self-described conservatives say they have a “positive view” of Karl Marx’s theory of property redistribution and social justice.
The survey wasn’t specifically about socialism. In fact, the purpose appears to have been to gauge the relative support of capitalism, free markets, big business and the federal government across party and ideological lines. Socialism was apparently thrown in to provide some contrast. The results were striking though.
While unsurprisingly more than half of Democrats (53 percent) and a nearly two-third of liberals (62 percent) view socialism positively, the numbers for Republicans and conservatives on the same question were 23 percent and 25 percent respectively.
Capitalism is still more popular but not massively so: 72 percent of Republicans and 55 percent of Democrats have a positive view of capitalism. For conservatives and liberals the numbers are 67 percent and 59 percent respectively. This means that liberals favor socialism over capitalism by about three points and Democrats favor capitalism by just two.
Overall, Americans favor capitalism over socialism, 61 to 39 percent. That’s down slightly from January, 2010 when it was 61-36 percent.
Getting back to the results for the right, either Gallup’s methodology is seriously off, some poll respondents were pranking the company or it has been so long since the fall of the Berlin Wall that Republicans are simply forgetting the roots of their party. If Ronald Reagan were alive today he’d no doubt shout: “Tear down this historical ignorance!”