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America Loves Bernie. Socialism, Not So Much.

Bernie Sanders has taken a decisive lead among Democratic voters nationally, according to two polls out Wednesday, hours before the next debate, in Las Vegas. What’s less clear from the polling is whether Sanders’ embrace of socialism could hurt him in a general election against President Trump. The Vermont senator and self-described democratic socialist has…

America Loves Bernie. Socialism, Not So Much.
Bernie Sanders has taken a decisive lead among Democratic voters nationally, according to two polls out Wednesday, hours before the next debate, in Las Vegas. What’s less clear from the polling is whether Sanders’ embrace of socialism could hurt him in a general election against President Trump.

The Vermont senator and self-described democratic socialist has overtaken former Vice President Joe Biden, who’s lost his lead after a pair of underwhelming performances in Iowa and New Hampshire. Biden’s in second in the national Washington Post-ABC News poll, with 16% of the likely Democratic vote. Sanders surged up to 32%, with a 3-to-1 lead over his rivals among voters under 50. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg took third, with 14% of likely Dem voters saying he’s their pick.

That’s a big change from the last round of polls. In January, a Post-ABC News poll had Biden leading the pack with 32% of Dem voters leaning toward him. Bernie was then at 23%. Bloomberg was way down at 8%.

Socialism, however, isn’t quite as popular as Bernie.

Sanders has emphasized that his version of socialism is avowedly small-d democratic and anti-authoritarian. “We must recognize that in the 21st century, in the wealthiest country in the history of the world, economic rights are human rights. That is what I mean by democratic socialism,” the senator said last year in a speech where he defined his views.

The results of a separate poll, also released Wednesday, indicate that maybe socialism isn’t quite enjoying the surge that Bernie is. Only 28% of Americans said they had a favorable view of the Sanders-embraced ideology — and 58% said they had an unfavorable impression, according to an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.

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