NEW REPORT REVEALS U.S. ATTITUDES ON SOCIALISM, COMMUNISM ON EVE OF 2016 ELECTION
FOR RELEASE: OCTOBER 17, 2016
First-of-its-kind YouGov Poll Shows “Bernie Sanders Bounce” for Collectivism – Surprising Support for Socialism and Communism Among Younger Americans – 45% of 16-20 year olds would vote for a “Socialist”; 21% for a “Communist” – One-third of Millennials Believe George W. Bush Killed More People Than Stalin – Vast Majority Unaware of Communism’s Death Toll – More Millennials Prefer Words of Karl Marx Over the Bible – Bernie Sanders’ Philosophy Wins More Support Than Milton Friedman’s
The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOC) today released the first-of-its-kind Annual Report on U.S. Attitudes towards Socialism, surveying Americans’ attitudes toward socialism, communism, and related issues. The Report, informed by polling conducted by internationally recognized research and data firm YouGov, will be released on the eve of a VOC-sponsored China Forum, discussing the challenges posed by the world’s largest remaining Communist regime.
The study found a growing acceptance of socialist and Marxist viewpoints among a younger generation of Americans who did not grow up during the Cold War. When considered alongside the broad support among millennials for Bernie Sanders and his ideals – the poll, for example, found more support for quotes of Sanders than Milton Friedman and the Bible – socialism has growing support in America. Fewer younger Americans, in turn, had a favorable view of capitalism and its tenets versus their older counterparts. The report also found a substantial gap in basic knowledge about communism and its history, with more glaring knowledge gaps especially among millennials .
“One of the concerns the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation has had since its establishment is that an emerging generation of Americans have little understanding of the collectivist system and its dark history,” said Marion Smith, executive director of the organization. “Unfortunately, this Report, which we intend to release on an annual basis, confirms this worrisome impression.”
Among the report’s findings:
Basic Knowledge of Communism is Lacking:
· Approximately one in four Americans (26%) and one-third of millennials (32%) believe more people were killed under George W. Bush than Joseph Stalin;
· Nearly 7 in 10 (68%) of all Americans and nearly 6 in 10 (59%) of Generation Z (ages 16-20) falsely believe that more people were killed under Hitler than Stalin;
· A vast majority (75%) underestimate the number of people killed by Communist regimes (more than 100 million);
· Many millennials are unfamiliar with communist leaders – Mao: 42%; Guevara: 40%; Stalin: 18%; Lenin: 33%; Putin 18%
· Of those millennials familiar with Vladimir Lenin, 25% have a favorable view of him
Younger Americans Have Sharply Different Views of Communism and Socialism than Older Americans:
· Roughly half of millennials (55%) believe Communism was and still is a problem – compared with 80% of Baby Boomers and 91% of elderly Americans;
· While 57% of all Americans have a “very unfavorable” view of communism, that view is shared by just 37% of millennials and 38% of Generation Z;
· 64% of Americans agreed with the classic Karl Marx statement that underpins Marxist philosophy: “from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs”;
· Nearly half of Generation Z (45%) say they would vote for a socialist; 1 in 5 (21%) say they would vote for a communist;
Turning Against Capitalism – the “Bernie Sanders Bounce”:
· A majority of millennials (53%) believe America’s economic system works against them;
· 4 in 10 Americans call for a “complete change” of America’s economic system to ensure highest earners pay their fair share;
· 64% of elderly Americans (age 65+) held a favorable view of capitalism, versus 42% of millennials;
· Younger Americans were far less likely to agree with ideas of capitalist Milton Friedman (Gen Z: 55%; millennials: 58%) than they were Bernie Sanders (Gen Z: 71%; millennials: 71%).
“This report clearly reveals a need for educating our youth on the dangerous implications of socialist ideals.” Smith continues, “We will continue to work with educators to build curriculum to address this important need.”