Friday, May 16, 2014

Capitalism, Socialism, and Age

A while ago, I had a post about views of capitalism and socialism.  A Gallup News Service poll from November 2012 asked people if they had "a positive or negative image of" capitalism, socialism, and some other terms.  The results, ranked from highest to lowest percent positive (omitting people with no opinion):

                          % positive
Small Business               96
Free Enterprise              92
Entrepreneurs                90
Capitalism                   66
Big business                 60
Federal government           52
Socialism                    42

Both capitalism and socialism got higher positive ratings than in the survey I wrote about in my previous post.  That may be because this survey led off with "free enterprise," which may have put people in a positive mood.  In the earlier survey, the list started with "socialism" and then asked about "progressive" and "libertarian" before "capitalism." 

My previous post was about age differences:  compared to older people, younger people were considerably more positive about socialism and less positive about capitalism.  Does that pattern hold up here?

                           % Positive
Age            Capitalism  Socialism    Free Enterprise
18-29                57      51             89
30-49                71      40             92
50-64                73      34             95
65+                  73      26             95

It does.  Both surveys show big age differences in views of socialism and smaller differences in views of capitalism, with socialism and capitalism about equally popular among the youngest age group.  I also show the figures for free enterprise, since there is a statistically significant age difference.  (There's no significant difference in views of big business or entrepreneurs; younger people are more favorable to the federal government, but I suspect answers to that question are strongly influenced by views of the current administration.)

[data from the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research]

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