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Nearly One in Four North Carolinians Support Socialism

After Socialism is Defined, Democratic Voters' Rejection Grows Even Stronger 
February 20, 2019


RALEIGH – North Carolinians overwhelmingly reject socialism and are less likely to support Medicaid expansion when given the facts, according to a newly released statewide Civitas Poll.

When likely voters were asked if they favored or opposed the United States’ political and economic system becoming more socialist, 60 percent opposed, and 23 percent favored. Although this is a clear mandate that voters reject the notion of socialism, their dislike for it becomes even more definitive once the political system is described.

Those surveyed were given the following definition for socialism: socialism is a political and economic system in which the government assumes control of much of private industry, including things like healthcare, education, banking, manufacturing, and energy production. Socialist countries aim to provide their citizens with basic services at the cost of significantly higher tax rates.

This clarifying statement led to even greater opposition to socialism, as both a political and economic model. Sixty-nine percent expressed opposition, while 24 percent favored. Fifty-one percent of Democrats and 67 percent of unaffiliated voters stated they opposed socialism after it was defined.

“North Carolina appears to continue its historical trend of being a small government state,” said Civitas President Donald Bryson. “Support for socialism appears to not be partisan, but is driven by base ideological liberals, evidenced by a substantial shift against socialism by registered Democrats when given a description of socialism.”

Voters were also asked their opinion on a number of healthcare related topics, particularly their thoughts on Medicaid expansion. Initially, support for Medicaid expansion was substantial, with 62 percent in favor. However, similar to socialism, once the facts were stated, support significantly decreased:

“Now I am going to read you two statements about Medicaid expansion in North Carolina. Please tell me whether each statement makes you more likely or less likely to favor Medicaid expansion in North Carolina:

Q.Medicaid expansion would cover mostly healthy, working-age adults with no children. Some of these potential enrollees already have private health insurance.

Much more likely 12%
Somewhat more likely 14%
Much less likely 29%
Somewhat less likely 20%
No difference 17%
Unsure/Refused 9%
Total More Likely 26%
Total Less Likely 49%

Q. One proposal for expanding Medicaid in North Carolina would likely add five hundred thousand new individuals to the program and would cost state taxpayers more than $340 million per year.

Much more likely 10%
Somewhat more likely 13%
Much less likely 36%
Somewhat less likely 19%
No difference 12%
Unsure/Refused 11%
Total More Likely 23%
Total Less Likely 55%

Bryson continued, “While Medicaid Expansion is superficially popular, support begins to evaporate when voters are given information on costs and the expansion population. Expansion proponents will likely have trouble if the legislative fight on Medicaid turns into a prolonged public debate.”

This poll also covered a number of other political and policy topics, such as 2020 presidential matchups, generic state and congressional ballots, and healthcare priorities.

Click here for complete crosstabs and toplines.

METHODOLOGY: The sample size for the survey is 500 likely voters in North Carolina and the margin of error is +/-4.38%. Responses were gathered via landline and mobile telephone interviews conducted by live callers at a professional call center. The survey was conducted February 11 – 13, 2019 by Harper Polling. The total percentages of responses may not equal 100% due to rounding.

Poll Highlights

For questions, or to arrange an interview, please contact Brooke Medina, communications director, at

Civitas has conducted live-caller voting in North Carolina since May 2005, and we are the only public policy organization offering statewide independent, nonpartisan data on a regular basis. Our polls have provided vital insights on what North Carolina voters think of the leaders and issues facing the state and nation.

Founded in 2005, the Civitas Institute is a Raleigh, NC-based, 501(c)(3) nonprofit policy organization committed to advancing conservative ideas and shrinking the size of government. Civitas fights to eliminate government barriers to freedom so that North Carolinians can live a better life.

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