Poll: Majority of Americans say they would not vote for a 'socialist'

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a self-described "socialist" whose surprise victory in a New York Democratic primary has garnered a tremendous amount of attention among left-leaning activists.

But the rise of Democrats calling themselves socialists may not be a good thing for the party as a whole, according to new polling.

In a new Hill.TV/HarrisX American Barometer poll released Tuesday, an overwhelming majority of respondents, 76 percent, said they would not vote for a “socialist” political candidate, while only 24 percent of those polled said they would vote for a socialist candidate.

Ocasio-Cortez is one of several candidates running for office this year that labels themselves as a socialist. The Democratic Socialists of America told The Associated Press that 42 candidates at the federal, state and local levels have earned a formal endorsement from the group. 

Maine Democratic Senate candidate Zak Ringelstein, who is challenging Sen. Angus KingAngus Stanley KingOvernight Energy: Judge revives clean water rule | Keystone XL pipeline to get new environmental review | Nominee won't say if he backs funding agency Trump nominee won't say if he supports funding agency he was selected to run Trump draws bipartisan fire over Brennan MORE (I-Maine), announced last week that he would run as a Democratic Socialist. Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersOvernight Health Care: Azar defends approach on drug rebates | Trump presses Senate to act quickly on opioid crisis | Kentucky governor's Medicaid lawsuit tossed Poll finds Libertarian Senate candidate running ahead of GOP in New Mexico Senate GOP targets musicians Ben Folds, Jason Isbell as 'unhinged left' ahead of rally for Dem candidate MORE (I-Vt.), the runner-up in the for the Democratic nomination in the 2016 presidential election, has long labeled himself a socialist.

Although Sanders remains highly popular among Democratic voters (and Americans generally), in the American Barometer survey, 64 percent of Democratic respondents said they would not vote for a "socialist." Among respondents who said they voted for Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonClinton to headline trio of DNC fundraisers: report Allegations of ‘Trump TV’ distract from real issues at Broadcasting Board of Governors Chelsea Clinton: Politics a 'definite maybe' in the future MORE in the 2016 general election, 59 percent said they would not support a self-described socialist.

High-ranking Democrats have generally reacted either neutrally or negatively to the idea of socialism rising within the party.

House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiCárdenas starts legal defense fund for sex abuse lawsuit Booming economy, kept promises, making America great — again The Hill's Morning Report — Trump showcases ICE ahead of midterm elections MORE (D-Calif.) told CBS News last month that socialism was not ascendant among Democrats. 

"It's ascendant in that district perhaps," Pelosi said referring to New York's 14th District, where Ocasio-Cortez is running. "But I don't accept any characterization of our party presented by the Republicans. So let me reject that right now."

The survey was conducted online in the U.S. between July 21-22 by HarrisX, among a randomly selected sample of 1,001 American voters.

The results are then weighted for age within gender, region, race/ethnicity, marital status, household size, income, employment, education, political party, and political ideology where necessary to align them with their actual proportions in the population.

— Julia Manchester