Thursday, November 29, 2012

Gallup Poll Highlights Divergence Between Republicans and Democrats

I know a number of people who have immigrated to the U.S. from former Soviet republics. They lived under socialism and communism in authoritarian countries. They say they came here for freedom, democracy, and capitalism. They often complain that there was little or no incentive to work hard in their home countries because everyone got paid the same. Recall that it was Karl Marx, a proponent of socialism and author of "The Communist Manifesto," who came up with the slogan, "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need."

This morning I heard an interview on National Public Radio (yes, I do listen to NPR) with Frank Newport, Editor in Chief at Gallup. The interview was about a poll Gallup conducted to see how Americans react to certain words. Gallup went a step further. They segmented the results based on political affiliation. The good news is that both Republicans and Democrats had overwhelmingly positive reactions to the terms, "small business," "free enterprise," and "entrepreneurs" with Republicans having a slightly more positive reaction to each.

Here is the worrying part. Republicans had a much stronger positive reaction than Democrats did to the words "capitalism" and "big business," but Democrats had a much stronger positive reaction to the words "federal government" and "socialism." Indeed, three-fourths of Democrats had a positive reaction to "federal government" and more than half had a positive reaction to "socialism." No doubt this comes as a shock to all those immigrants who came to the U.S. to escape the Soviet Union's version of socialism. Click here to see the full Gallup report.