Politics

Here's Why Biden Might Trump Sanders in Dem Primary

The latest polling shows that a lot of voters aren't entirely keen on socialism.

Jordan Candler · May 9, 2019

We’ll start with the obvious disclaimer: Polls are just that — polls. They aren’t always accurate, and as the 2016 election proved, they can often be downright terrible. But more often than not, they can help to provide valuable insight into Americans’ opinion on major issues. One such polling issue that could prove illuminating heading into the much-dreaded election season is Americans’ perception of capitalism as compared to socialism.

A Monmouth University survey published this week suggests, “A majority of Americans (57%) say that socialism is not compatible with American values. Just 29% say it is compatible. About 4-in-10 (42%) have a negative opinion of socialism in general, with another 45% having a neutral opinion and just 10% holding a positive view of socialism.”

This is interesting in that presidential candidate and socialist Bernie Sanders enjoyed weeks in the limelight by leading most early polling. But that lead cratered quicker than a socialist country’s economy as soon as Joe Biden joined the race.

As The Hill reports, “Joe Biden holds a 30-point lead over Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the Democratic presidential field, according to a Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll survey.” Biden is hardly a card-carrying capitalist, to be sure, but he’s not full-bore socialist like Sanders, either. This infers to us that socialism, while attractive to some within the Democrat base, is still a considerable turnoff when other options are put to the table.

That table can turn, of course, and Sanders may very well win the Democrat primary in 2020. Correlation or causation is anyone’s guess right now. Another caveat is evident in the Monmouth University survey, which notes: “The poll finds some contradictory opinion on what socialism means to the public.” For example: “Democrats are the most likely to strongly favor (65%) establishing a universal health care system and see it as being neither socialist nor capitalist (76%).” That’s a wrong interpretation.

Still, Sanders’s bona fide socialist message isn’t as accepted as perhaps he would like for it to be. At least not yet. And that could feasibly propel Biden to victory in the 2020 Democrat primary.

On a final note, there’s no question that America has leaned further socialist, which the Monmouth University survey also affirms: “Public opinion about capitalism — while largely positive — is not overwhelmingly favorable, however. Nearly 4-in-10 Americans (39%) have a positive opinion of capitalism in general and a similar 40% have a neutral opinion. Another 17% hold a negative view of capitalism.”

But socialism — at least the ambiguous interpretation of it — still has a ways to go in winning the hearts of most Americans. There’s no knowing for sure, but next year, it may very well be up to Trump to prove why his version of capitalism is far more authoritative than Biden’s.

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