60% Say Capitalism Better Than Socialism

Rasmussen Reports

Sixty percent (60%) of U.S. adults nationwide say that capitalism is better than socialism. A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey finds that 18% disagree, while 21% are not sure.

Adults under 30 are closely divided on the question. While Republicans and unaffiliated voters overwhelmingly say that capitalism is better, just 43% of Democrats agree. Twenty-four percent (24%) of Democrats say socialism is better.

Seventy-six percent (76%) of investors favor capitalism, compared to only 45% of non-investors.

Last year at this time, among all adults, only 53% said capitalism was better.

However, it’s important to note that just 35% believe a free market economy is the same as a capitalist economy. In fact, despite tepid support for capitalism, 77% of Americans prefer a free market economy rather than a government managed economy. That’s consistent with the 75% who say that business is better at customer service than government.

One reason for the gap in support for capitalism and free markets is clearly the behavior of some large American corporations. Seventy-three percent (73%) of Americans believe that Goldman Sachs is likely to have committed fraud as charged by the federal Securities and Exchange Commission. Seven-out-of-10 Americans believe that government and big business work together against the interests of consumers and investors.

In his new book, In Search of Self-Governance, Scott Rasmussen describes it this way:

“The more or less official story line goes something like this: Big government and big business are perpetual and intractable enemies. Big business wants totally free and unfettered markets while big government wants to regulate everything that moves. … As the story goes, the two sides duke it out and end up with compromise regulations. Businesses get enough freedom to compete while government gets enough regulation to protect consumers.

“This is bunk!

“The reality is a bit like a scam you’d see in a bad movie. Some guy is harassing a girl at a bar and another guy steps in to chase the jerk away. For good measure, he gets tough and just a little bit physical. After the jerk is gone, the ‘hero’ is free to accept whatever thanks he can from the damsel who thought she was in distress. She, of course, has no way of knowing that the two guys were friends and will switch roles the next time they try the scam.

“In the political world today, advocates of big business and big government play the same game. … They pretend to fight so that one of them can rise to the defense of consumers or taxpayers. Big business leaders proclaim the virtues of the free market, and regulators talk about a mandate to protect consumers. Just as the guys reverse roles when it suits them, the elites take turns drifting back and forth between the business and government sides of the aisle.”

Rasmussen adds, “Voters have come to believe that capitalism means large, well-connected corporations keep the profits when times are good and get bailed out by taxpayers when times are bad. No wonder they prefer free markets over capitalism.”

In Search of Self-Governance is available at Rasmussen Reports and Amazon.com.

Not surprisingly, the new survey found that just 24% believe the government is capable of adequately monitoring the dealings of Wall Street financial firms. Fifty-three percent (53%) say it is not.

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