Young Americans: Socialism is Fine, But Don’t Take My Money

Nate Silver: “Bernie Sanders proudly describes himself as a ‘socialist’ (or more commonly, as a “democratic socialist”) … Views of socialism are highly correlated with a voter’s age. According to a May 2015 YouGov poll, conducted just before Sanders launched his campaign, a plurality of voters aged 18 to 29 had a favorable view of socialism. But among voters 65 and older, just 15 percent viewed socialism favorably, to 70 percent unfavorably.”

“That doesn’t mean America is undergoing a leftist or revolutionary awakening, however. The biennial General Social Survey has a long-standing question about wealth redistribution, asking Americans whether the ‘government in Washington ought to reduce the income differences between the rich and the poor … perhaps by raising the taxes of wealthy families or by giving income assistance to the poor.'”

“I’ve translated [the General Social Survey] responses to a 100-point scale, where 0 represents the most conservative/right-wing position (no redistribution!), and 100 the most liberal/left-wing position (hell yes, redistribution!). The chart below summarizes how both Americans overall and Americans aged 18-29 have responded to the question over time.”

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“In part, then, the “revolutions” that both Sanders and Paul speak of are revolutions of rising expectations.”

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