3 in 4 Democrats would support a socialist for president: poll

As the Democratic Party primary field lurches to the left on a number of policy issues, it is being reflected among Democratic voters -- with three in four Democrats saying they would back a socialist for president, according to a new poll released this month.

The Gallup poll found that 76 percent of Democratic voters would vote for a socialist. Only 17 percent of Republicans say they would vote for a socialist, and 45 percent of independents would vote for one.

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The poll comes amid the rise of self-described “democratic socialist” Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., in the Democratic presidential primary race. The far-left candidate tied with the more moderate former South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg in Iowa, and won the New Hampshire primary and Nevada caucuses -- boosting him into front-runner status.

Sanders has promoted once-fringe policies such as a Green New Deal, a moratorium on the deportation of illegal immigrants, free college tuition and a “Medicare-for-all” plan that would abolish private health insurance.

Other ideas such as reparations for slavery and welfare for illegal immigrants have also become popular among Democratic politicians, particularly in the Democrat-controlled House -- where liberal "Squad" members such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., have been promoting policies once far out of the Democratic mainstream.

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Voters were polled by Gallup about the characteristics of potential presidents they would vote for -- and it found broad acceptance of most of those traits. Of those polled, 96 percent would vote for a black candidate, 93 percent would vote for a woman, 78 percent would vote for a gay/lesbian candidate, and 66 percent would vote for a Muslim.

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Out of all those characteristics polled, a socialist candidate was the only one that received majority opposition overall -- even considering Democrat’s relative enthusiasm.

Less than half of Americans overall, 45 percent, said they would back a socialist for president, while 53 percent said they would not -- suggesting the left-wing shift by the Democratic Party might not be reflected in the electorate as a whole.