In an appearance on FNC’s “MediaBuzz,” pollster Frank Luntz shares his finding that the term “capitalism” no longer polls well with the American people and predicts that Senator Bernie Sanders is the most likely to win the Democratic nomination for president with a message of democratic socialism.
“It is not that principles are dead, in fact, the principles of economic freedom are alive and well,” Luntz explained. “But capitalism itself has been so demonized by media that… if you want to oppose socialism you oppose it by talking about freedom, not capitalism.”
HOWARD KURTZ, FOX NEWS: An exclusive first look at a poll about socialism versus capitalism. It turns out the ideas pushed by Democrats such as Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez may have lots of support in their party, while capitalism isn’t polling so well.
Frank Luntz found in an online survey of 1,000 people that 52% of Hillary Clinton voters agree with the statement “I prefer living in a socialist country to a capitalist one,” against just 16% of Donald Trump voters. Asked about the AOC proposal to impose a 70% tax on the top 1% of taxpayers, 79% Clinton voters agree, and so do 46% of Trump voters. And veteran Republican pollster Frank Luntz joins us now. Before we get to more numbers, is the media kind of soft on socialism? I mean favorable press to Democrats like Bernie Sanders and AOC, being tough on flaws of capitalism, the excesses of big corporations.
FRANK LUNTZ: All you have do is read “The New York Times” business section. Typically seven stories, six of the seven will be hostile to a corporation or hostile to capitalism as we know it. In fact, it has gotten so bad that I started to say to people: stop trying to defend capitalism, it is economic freedom. Capitalism they think of Wall Street, profits, they think about losing their jobs. Economic freedom is Main Street, small business, why we are so successful as a country. It has been so demonized, and the rich and successful have been demonized — the assumption now is if you made money you did so in an improper way.
KURTZ: It’s interesting, 45% of Trump voters say some companies make such big profits it can’t be justified. You are basically saying in this report, you say, capitalism is dead, at least as term people respond to, that is a pretty strong statement.
LUNTZ: I am going to get chewed out by Rush Limbaugh for the wrong reasons. It is not that the principles are dead, in fact, the principles of economic freedom are alive and well. But capitalism itself has been so demonized by media that… if you want to oppose socialism you oppose it by talking about freedom, not capitalism.
KURTZ: It must be more than just media coverage when you have, as I mentioned the top, half of Trump voters, supporting AOC’s 70% marginal tax rate. You wouldn’t know that from the coverage, you would think it is purely a left wing position.
LUNTZ: It is because the public is really frustrated about being forgotten or left behind. Those two emotions are what elected Donald Trump, and are alive and well not just on the right, but also the left. It’s the reason Bernie Sanders did so well in 2016, and why I will be blunt with you, I think he is the most likely nominee in 2020. I will tell you something, Republicans should want that because Sanders cannot appeal to overall mainstream American people, and they should be scared to death if they get Colorado Senator Michael Bennett, who there is no issue about socialism there is no — he is not the extreme he is mainstream. The reason why Sanders polls so well is because he is so left wing.
KURTZ: I’m getting two things from this, because even the media have said some Democratic candidates have moved so far left — free college for all, Medicare for all, slavery reparations – that they would have a hard time winning a general election, but maybe in tune with what a lot of Democrats think. And secondly you say, well, capitalism, looks not great right now — because of media. I am a big proponent of media have a lot of influence but do they have that much influence?
LUNTZ: Significant influence, you are correct the Democrats who have moved to the left are in tune with Democratic Party, just not in tune with mainstream America on this issue of capitalism. Republicans frankly need to wake up, that what they believed was mainstream 10 years ago, but now the whole country is shifting, just a bit left.