Survey: Americans rate small businesses as good, socialism not so much

Raymond Keating
Raymond Keating

Hey, who needs a bit of good news?

The results of a recent Gallup survey show Americans still love small business, but aren’t too fond of socialism.

Gallup asked Americans if they had a positive or negative image of various terms relating to the economy.

Thankfully, the top three positive responses were for “small business” with 96 percent of Americans holding a positive image, “entrepreneurs” with an 87 percent positive reaction and “free enterprise” with an 85 percent positive answer.

Indeed, these numbers stay strong on a bipartisan basis. Republicans and Republican leaners breakdown as
97 percent positive on “small business,” 91 percent positive on “entrepreneurs” and 92 percent positive on “free enterprise.” As for Democrats and Democrat leaners, the breakdown is 96 percent positive on “small business,”
86 percent positive on “entrepreneurs” and “free enterprise” with an 83 percent positive answer.

That’s reassuring in a time of political tumult and contradiction. Americans across party divides seem to understand small businesses, entrepreneurs and free enterprise remain central to our economy’s wellbeing and growth.

Meanwhile, even so-called “big business” — often viewed as a scourge in certain political circles — managed to win a majority, with 53 percent of Americans having a positive image.

Meanwhile, only 44 percent of Americans had a positive take on the “federal government.” Given the tremendous costs and uncertainties imposed on small businesses and entrepreneurs by the federal government, that’s an important result to consider.

Finally, compared to this election, the last time Americans heard so much about socialism being spun as some kind of positive was nearly a century ago.

However, while “free enterprise” again earned an 85 percent positive response and “capitalism” a 60 percent positive reaction, “socialism” earned only a 35 percent positive answer.

However, 58 percent of Democrats and Democrat leaners actually view “socialism” favorably.

While it’s a certainly disconcerting that more than a third of Americans hold a positive image of “socialism,” the general view still is negative of an economic system run by government that destroys entrepreneurship, initiative, innovation, opportunity, freedom, and economic and income growth.

Let’s hope these views on the economy somehow translate into sound policymaking this year and after the coming election.