A new Gallup poll released Tuesday reveals that 76 percent of Democratic voters surveyed said they would vote for a socialist president, Newsweek reports. The news comes on the day of the New Hampshire primary as Bernie Sanders continues to face attacks for his Democratic Socialist label as the primary race continues to tighten.
“Between now and the 2020 political conventions, there will be discussion about the qualifications of presidential candidates — their education, age, religion, race and so on,” the question read.
“If your party nominated a generally well-qualified person for president who happened to be [characteristic], would you vote for that person?”
According to the results, 76 percent of Democrats said they would vote for a socialist candidate, while just 17 percent of Republicans and 45 percent of independents said the same.
When accounting for respondents of all political orientations, the survey found that most — approximately 53 percent — said they would not vote for a socialist, while 45 percent said they would. According to Gallup, the percentage of respondents who said they would vote for a socialist has decreased by two percentage points since a 2015 Gallup poll that posed the same question.
MSNBC host Chris Matthews recently faced criticism for attacking Sanders’ socialism and suggested that electing the Vermont Sen. could pave the way to a dictatorship. He pointed to Sanders’ claim that the U.S. will move in the direction of Denmark, which he acknowledged was mostly a capitalist country with the addition of comprehensive social programs.
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews really just went on an anti-socialism rant.— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) February 8, 2020
I almost don’t believe this is real. pic.twitter.com/gxnjrbKqS9
Writing for Media Matters for America, Matt Gertz slammed Matthews’ comments and suggested that they exemplified his ignorance on the topic.
“Matthews’ apparent uncertainty about Sanders’ definition of ‘democratic socialist’ is bizarre,” Hertz wrote. “The Democratic presidential candidate has explained the term over and over in major venues for years.”
He then pointed to Sanders’ view of Democratic socialism, which the 78-year-old politician has repeatedly stated involves ensuring that economic rights like education, housing, and health care are equal to human rights.
“Its mechanisms include expanding social welfare programs, increasing the minimum wage, and strengthening trade unions,” Hertz wrote, adding that such a plan would also include political reform to balance the gap of influence and power between the rich and the powerful.
Sanders is the only candidate in the Democratic field to label himself a Democratic socialist. Although many connect Sanders’ socialism with the communism observed in Venezuela, Newsweek reports that political science professor Jean Louise Cohen claims that his approach is more aligned with the Scandinavian countries.