A majority of Americans say they would not vote for a socialist presidential candidate even if the person was otherwise qualified for the position, according to a new poll.
The Gallup poll’s results, released Tuesday, showed that only 45 percent of Americans would vote for their party’s presidential nominee if he or she was a socialist, and over 53 percent of respondents said they would not.
Democrats are more willing to vote for a socialist candidate than Republicans, with 76 percent of Democratic respondents and 17 percent of Republican respondents saying they would support the candidate.
Forty-five percent of independents also said they would support a socialist candidate.
Gallup found that opposition to a socialist president is up 2 percentage points since it last asked the question in June 2015.
It is possible that these polling results could play out in the upcoming presidential election. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is a self-described democratic socialist who is currently at or near the top of most polls for the Democratic presidential nomination.
According to the RealClearPolitics polling average, as of Tuesday, Sanders had 23.8 percent support nationwide, closely followed by former Vice President Joe Biden at 19.8 percent.
Biden has criticized Sanders’ policies and said that Democrats will face a “bigger uphill climb” to defeat President Donald Trump in 2020 if Sanders wins the nomination.
“So you think flat out Democrats can’t defeat Trump if they have to defend socialism?” George Stephanopoulos asked Biden in an interview on ABC’s “This Week” that aired Sunday.
“I think it’s going to be incredibly difficult,” Biden replied.
.@GStephanopoulos: “So you think flat out Democrats can’t defeat Trump if they have to defend socialism?”
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) February 9, 2020
“Look, if I don’t get the nomination and Bernie gets it, I’m going to work like hell for him, but I’ll tell you what, it’s a bigger uphill climb, running as a senator or congressperson or as a governor on a ticket that calls itself a democratic socialist ticket,” he said.
Gallup was testing to see if different characteristics affected people’s willingness to vote for their party’s presidential nominee if he or she was otherwise “generally well-qualified” for the position.
It found over 90 percent of respondents would vote for a candidate who was black, Catholic, Hispanic, Jewish or a woman.
Seventy-eight percent responded they would vote for a gay or lesbian candidate, like former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
People were less likely to vote for a Muslim or atheist candidate, with 66 percent and 60 percent support respectively.
To conduct research for this poll, Gallup conducted telephone interviews from Jan. 16-29 with 1,033 voting aged adults. There is a margin of sampling error of 4 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.
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