The Bernie Effect: Poll Shows Majority of Millennials Reject Capitalism (VIDEO)
Millennials Are Rejecting Free-Market Capitalism At A Higher Rate Thanks To The Candidacy of Bernie Sanders
A new Harvard poll of adults between the ages of 18 and 29 found that 51 percent of respondents don’t support capitalism, compared to 42 percent that do. The results corroborate with previous research indicating a profound shift in Millennials’ perception of this economic policy.
Pollsters note the results are difficult to interpret, as capitalism means different things to different people, and only 33 percent of respondents indicated a preference for socialism.
But with the Cold War fading from memory, American capitalism is no longer contrasted with Soviet-era communism—which may be shining a light on the pitfalls of the free market.
“The word ‘capitalism’ doesn’t mean what it used to,” said Zach Lustbader, a senior at Harvard who helped conduct the poll.
“For those who grew up during the Cold War, capitalism meant freedom from the Soviet Union and other totalitarian regimes. For those who grew up more recently, capitalism has meant a financial crisis from which the global economy still hasn’t completely recovered.”
The same poll indicated Vermont Senator and Social Democrat Bernie Sanders was the most popular presidential candidate among young people. Polling director John Della Volpe said Sanders’ ideas have proven highly influential to millennials, changing the way they think about politics.
“He’s not moving a party to the left,” Della Volpe said. “He’s moving a generation to the left. Whether or not he’s winning or losing, it’s really that he’s impacting the way in which a generation — the largest generation in the history of America — thinks about politics.”
That doesn’t mean there was no love for front-runner Hillary Clinton. 61 percent of young voters say they’d back the former Secretary of State over GOP front-runner Donald Trump.
Featured photo for this article by Win McNamee/Getty Images