Is American dream over?

Fewer Americans believe in the capitalist system – that’s the result of a new survey. Only slightly more than half of those who were asked, said the free-market economy is what the country needs.

This appears to be a real sign that the nation’s belief in capitalism has been severely shaken by the financial fallout.

Only 53% of American adults believe capitalism is better than socialism. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 20% disagree and say socialism is better, and 27% are not sure which is better.

Adults under 30 are essentially evenly divided: 37% prefer capitalism, 33% socialism, and 30% are undecided. Adults thirty-plus are quite a bit more supportive of the free-enterprise approach with 49% for capitalism and 26% for socialism. Adults over 40 strongly favor capitalism, and just 13% of those older Americans believe socialism is better.

Investors by a 5-to-1 margin choose capitalism. As for those who do not invest, 40% say capitalism is better while 25% prefer socialism.

Rasmussen Reports poll facts

National Survey of 1,000 Adults
Conducted April 6-7, 2009
Margin of Sampling Error, +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence

There is a partisan gap as well. Republicans – by an 11-to-1 margin – favor capitalism. Democrats are much more closely divided: Just 39% say capitalism is better, while 30% prefer socialism. As for those not affiliated with either major political party, 48% say capitalism is best, and 21% opt for socialism.

It is interesting to compare the new results to an earlier survey in which 70% of Americans preferred a free-market economy, Rasmussen Reports writes. The fact that a “free-market economy” attracts substantially more support than “capitalism," may suggest some skepticism about whether capitalism in the United States today relies on free markets.

However, the survey did not define the terms ‘capitalism’ and ‘socialism.' But the fact that so many people didn’t answer in favor of capitalism clearly shows that the support for the US economic model is diminishing.

Socialism is understood by most in the country as the increase of government intervention or the redistribution of wealth. Some Republicans in the US have referred to President Barack Obama’s stimulus plan as a down payment on a new American socialist experiment.