The Pew Research Centre has conducted a survey on what the American public thinks of various labels.
37% negative reaction to the term ‘capitalism’ seems rather high for the US, even allowing for the current down in the US economy. But we should not forget the number one empirical finding of global public opinion research, that the public knows very little about politics:
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”; 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).
Hint to US public: ‘socialism’ is like the whole country being run the same way as the US Mail, and not being allowed to complain.
Until I read the full Pew article, I was impressed that so many people knew what ‘libertarianism’ was and rated it positively. But now I suspect that many respondents liked both ‘socialism’ and ‘libertarianism’.