Pew has a new survey on the reception of different political buzz words by demographic characteristics.  “Socialism,” “Capitalism” and the like. It’s no surprise that the latter word elicits a more positive reaction among Republicans than Democrats than the former, and vice versa. But here is something interesting:

More than four-in-ten independents (44%) react positively to the word “libertarian,” while 32% have a negative reaction. Democrats are nearly evenly divided (39% positive, 37% negative). However, Republicans on balance have a negative impression of this term (44% negative, 31% positive).

I’m not sure how to account for this; perhaps the first part of the word “libertarian” sounds too much like “liberal” to Republicans? I admit it’s awfully tortured reasoning on my part.

Generally speaking the wealthier you are the more positively you respond to “Capitalism,” which should satisfy the liberal’s understanding of class interest. But the same goes for education – the more you have, the better you respond the C word – which could confound the liberal’s understanding of what college is supposed to teach one about the world.

But not too much can be read into this.  Responses to the words “Socialism” and “Capitalism” are not correlated:

Perhaps surprisingly, opinions about the terms “socialism” and “capitalism” are not correlated with each other. Most of those who have a positive reaction to “socialism” also have a positive reaction to “capitalism” [emphasis mine]; in fact, views of “capitalism” are about the same among those who react positively to “socialism” as they are among those who react negatively (52% and 56%, respectively, view “capitalism” positively). Conversely, views of “socialism” are just as negative among those who have a positive reaction to “capitalism” (64% negative) as those who react negatively (61% negative).

What is America trying to tell us, that it’s state capitalist?

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