Capitalism or socialism? The surprising truth about British voters’ economic views

Matt Singh in CapX tells us that British voters (sample of 1000) barely distinguish between the two isms:

We hear a lot about what the public thinks about day-to-day, week-to-week politics, via voting intention polling, leader ratings and the like. Topical issues like Brexit as well as scandals and specific policies are also polled extensively.

When it comes to the bigger picture, recent discussion of more fundamental concepts has become dominated by the culture war between social liberals and social conservatives. But while the more traditional left-right divide over the size and role of the state has been supplemented, it hasn’t been supplanted.

This piece is the first in a CapX series probing the British attitudes on the economic battle of ideas. In the latest wave of Number Cruncher polling, we asked a set of questions on ideologies to over a thousand UK eligible voters.

First of all, how positive or negative are people towards capitalism and socialism? The headline figures suggest that neither system elicits a particularly positive reaction. In fact something that’s notable across the two questions is just how negative people are about both ideologies.

Thirty-two per cent of eligible voters have a positive view of capitalism, 52 per cent negative. On socialism, 30 per cent have a positive view, 53 per cent negative. In other words, it is pretty much a score draw.

The breakdowns contain a few surprises. Supporters of both main parties break in the directions you’d expect, but not as sharply as you’d expect. Neither the Conservatives who are positive on capitalism (50 per cent) nor the Labour voters who are positive on socialism (47 per cent) are a majority.

Not surprised to read the findings. If there was a question on what they mean by capitalism or socialism, one could have seen people confusing between the two as well…

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