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

Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezDemocratic strategist Andrew Feldman says Biden is moving left Hispanic Caucus asks Trump to rescind invitation to Mexican president Nadler wins Democratic primary MORE 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 KingMcConnell on filibuster talk: Democrats want to 'vandalize' Senate rules Manchin draws line against repealing legislative filibuster Filibuster reform gains steam with Democrats MORE (I-Maine), announced last week that he would run as a Democratic Socialist. Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersDemocratic senator will introduce bill mandating social distancing on flights after flying on packed flight Neil Young opposes use of his music at Trump Mt Rushmore event: 'I stand in solidarity with the Lakota Sioux' Democratic strategist Andrew Feldman says Biden is moving left 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 ClintonCan Republicans handle the aftermath of Donald Trump? Biden seeks to supplant Trump in Georgia Hillary Clinton: 'I would have done a better job' handling coronavirus 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 PelosiOn The Money: Breaking down the June jobs report | The biggest threats facing the recovery | What will the next stimulus bill include? Military bases should not be renamed, we must move forward in the spirit of reconciliation Pelosi: Trump 'himself is a hoax' 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