Jan 29, 2019

Exclusive poll: Americans want economic reform in 2020

Dave Lawler, author of World
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Data: SurveyMonkey online poll; Chart: Harry Stevens/Axios

Most Americans think the economic system is skewed toward the wealthy and the government should do more to fix it — and they're ready to vote for a candidate who agrees, according to a new Axios/SurveyMonkey survey

Why it matters: The economy is usually the top priority for voters heading into a presidential election, and Democrats in particular — but also a strong majority of independents — are looking for big changes. By wide margins, they think unfairness in the economic system is a bigger problem than overregulation of the free market.

The big picture: Democrats and young adults are increasingly favorable to socialism.

  • As Axios' Felix Salmon noted, 18–24-year-olds in the survey view socialism (61% positive) more favorably than capitalism (58%), the only age group to do so. Older respondents tend to be far more wary of socialism.
  • Democrats are far more favorable toward socialism than independents and Republicans, as other surveys have found. 64% of Democrats in this survey say they have positive views of socialism, while 83% of Republicans and 61% of independents have negative views.
  • Men are much more bullish about capitalism (71% positive) than women (51%). Women, meanwhile, are slightly more favorable toward socialism (41% positive, vs. 36% for men).

Between the lines: Republicans are far less likely to see unfairness in the economic system. While 62% overall, and 85% of Democrats, say the government should pursue policies aimed at reducing inequality, just 34% of Republicans agree.

  • So when President Trump cuts taxes and regulations, but doesn't pursue policies to reduce inequality, he'll be on solid ground with the GOP base — but that agenda won't broaden his appeal with independents.

By the numbers:

  • 89% of Democrats say economic unfairness that favors the wealthy is a bigger problem than overregulation.
  • 68% of independents agree.
  • But 77% of Republicans say overregulation of the free market is a bigger problem than economic unfairness.

Go deeper ... Special Report: A new — unknown — world

Methodology: This SurveyMonkey online poll was conducted Jan. 1618 among 2,277 adults aged 18 and older in the U.S. Respondents were selected from the more than 2 million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day. Data have been weighted for age, race, sex, education, and geography using the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to reflect the demographic composition of the United States age 18 and over. The modeled error estimate for the full sample is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points and full crosstabs are available here.

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