A Fox News poll released Friday finds widespread belief among American voters that the country is on the decline as a civilization. In addition, a majority thinks the country is moving toward socialism.
A 62 percent majority of voters thinks the United States is on the decline. That's more than twice as many as the 26 percent who believe it is on the rise.
Most Republicans — 76 percent — think the country is in decline, and 64 percent of independents agree. Views among Democrats are more evenly split: 41 percent say on the rise and 43 percent say on the decline.
There's a slight gender gap as men (64 percent) are somewhat more likely than women (59 percent) to take the negative view of the country's progress. Across generations there is substantial agreement: young voters ages 35 and under (58 percent) are about as likely as seniors 65 and over (57 percent) to think things are on a downward slide.
The national telephone poll was conducted for Fox News by Opinion Dynamics Corp. among 900 registered voters from July 27 to July 28. For the total sample, the poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Along with a strong sense of national decline, the poll also finds 73 percent of voters think the government in Washington has too much power, up from 64 percent who thought so in 1997.
That feeling crosses party lines. To varying degrees, majorities of Republicans (89 percent), independents (78 percent) and Democrats (53 percent) agree the government is too powerful.
Almost all voters — 89 percent — think elected officials in Washington are employees of the American public and "should therefore try to follow the will of the people when making decisions."
A majority thinks the transition from capitalism to socialism in the U.S. is already underway. By 56-34 percent, more voters think the country is currently moving away from capitalism to socialism. Far fewer voters, however, approve.
Less than one in five voters (18 percent) thinks it would be a good thing for the country to move away from capitalism and toward socialism. Among those most likely to favor this option are those with household incomes under $30,000 (28 percent), as well as those under age thirty (31 percent), and Democrats (32 percent).
About 7 in 10 voters (69 percent) think a move toward socialism would be a bad thing. Republicans (88 percent), those with household incomes of $100,000 or more (83 percent), and those ages 55 and over (70 percent) are among those most likely to think it would be a bad move. Smaller majorities of those living in lower-income households (59 percent), young people (57 percent), as well as just under half of Democrats (49 percent) agree.