WASHINGTON, D.C. — Americans remain much more positive toward capitalism than socialism, and their ratings of each have been largely stable over the past decade-plus.
Americans’ positive ratings of capitalism and socialism. Sixty percent of U.S. adults in 2021 have a positive image of capitalism, and 38% have a positive image of socialism. These ratings have been stable over time.
These results are based on an Oct. 1-19 Gallup survey. Since 2010, Gallup has measured Americans’ basic opinions of several economic or governmental terms, including capitalism and socialism. Their views of socialism have held steady, even as Sen. Bernie Sanders and progressive Democratic politicians have pursued an expanded government role in addressing healthcare, poverty and early childhood education — policies their critics describe as moving the U.S. toward socialism. Likewise, Americans’ opinions of capitalism have not varied, even with greater discussion of income inequality in the U.S. and the concentration of U.S. wealth in a small percentage of people.
Socialism ties with “the federal government” as the lowest rated of the six terms included in the 2021 survey. In contrast, Americans are most positive toward small business and free enterprise, while they are slightly more negative than positive toward big business.