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Politicians calling themselves “Democratic socialists” have made very-visible gains in the past year, with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joining Congress on Thursday and Sen. Bernie Sanders becoming a party icon with the status to bring policies like Medicare-for-all into the mainstream.
But the trend goes well beyond those two, as polls show American voters across the country – in particular, young people and Democrats – increasingly warming to socialism over capitalism.
The shift is a recent phenomenon, and reflects a dimming view of capitalism more than anything.
Back in 2010, 68 percent of young people, 18-29 years old, said they approved of capitalism, while 51 percent said they approved of socialism, according to Gallup. Fast-forward to August 2018, and that same age group backs socialism over capitalism, 51 percent to 45 percent.
Democrats, meanwhile, were evenly split between capitalism and socialism back in 2010. But now, 57 percent say they hold a positive view of socialism, compared with just 47 percent who say the same for capitalism.
The trend extends to high school students, according to a YouGov poll released in November, which found 14-17-year-olds split 50-50 on whether socialism or capitalism is better.
Americans as a whole, however, still prefer capitalism 56 percent to 37 percent.