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Not Feeling the Bern? US Voters Turned Off By Socialists, Want President Under Age 40 in Blow to Bernie Sanders

Originally published on: CCN
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March 04, 2019

A new NBC/WSJ poll has revealed what Americans don’t want as president – a socialist or a septuagenarian over 75. Unfortunately for Democrats, their two front-runners each possess at least one of those two qualities. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, 77, is an avowed socialist, according to Bloomberg. Though former vice president Joe Biden is yet to declare his candidacy, he is 76.

Specifically, the poll found that only 37 percent of the respondents found a presidential candidate over 75 desirable. Majority of voters, in fact, indicated they would be enthusiastic or comfortable with a youthful president. According to the survey, 58 percent of the respondents would be accepting of a candidate under the age of 40.

Socialism is a Dirty Word in Modern American Politics

On political ideology, only 25 percent of the respondents indicated that being socialist was a desirable characteristic for a presidential candidate. Socialism was also seen as a ‘dirty word,’ according to the poll. Just 18 percent of Americans had a positive view of the term while 50 percent viewed it negatively, according to NBC News. With regard to capitalism, 19 percent viewed it negatively while 50 percent had a positive view.

Bernie Sanders Joe Biden

Desirability of presidential characteristics from a poll conducted Feb. 24-27 | Source: Jiachuan Wu/NBC News

This comes at a time when the Democrats are being accused of turning too far to the left. Consequently, they have become a soft target of opportunistic Republicans who haven’t wasted the chance to highlight the historical failings of socialism.

Last year in October, the White House Council of Economic Advisers put out a document attacking socialism and warning of the grave effects it would have in the U.S. if it were adopted. On the economy, the document warned that greater economic freedom resulted in better economic performance and lesser economic freedom translated into poorer economic performance:

…[R]eplacing U.S. policies with highly socialist policies such as Venezuela’s would reduce real GDP more than 40 percent in the long run, or about $24,000 per year for the average person.

Is ‘Medicare for All’ a Winning Campaign Slogan?

On healthcare, the White House document criticized ‘socialized medicine’ by arguing that it would result in inefficient government-run health insurance. This would have a negative consequence on longevity and health:

Evidence on the productivity and effectiveness of single-payer systems suggests that “Medicare for All” would reduce both short- and long-run longevity and health despite increasing somewhat the population with health insurance.

During the recently held Conservative Political Action Conference 2019, also known as CPAC, President Donald Trump also hit out at socialism:

The future does not belong to those who believe in socialism…the future belongs to those who believe in freedom.

Trump’s Approval Rating Up But 2020 Victory Not Guaranteed

Trump’s and the Republicans’ attacks on socialism may, however, not be enough. The same NBC/WSJ poll indicated that reclaiming the presidency in 2020 will not be an easy walk. Only 41 percent of the respondents in the poll indicated they would vote for him. Some 48 percent of the respondents in the poll said they would vote for the Democratic candidate.

Trump might, however, take comfort in the fact that at roughly the same point in Bill Clinton’s first term, only 38 percent were ready to vote for him for a second term. Another point of consolation is that Trump’s approval rating has  increased by three points to 46 percent since January, according to the NBC/WSJ poll.

The views expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not represent those of, nor should they be attributed to, CCN.

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