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No love for 'militia'

An entertaining poll from the Pew Research Center goes some way toward explaining why Republicans have spent the past year calling Democrats "socialists" while Democrats have tried to define the tea party movement as some new iteration of the militia movement. Americans hate both of those terms. In a survey conducted April 21-26 among 1,546 adults, 65 percent reacted negatively to the word "militia," while 59 percent reacted negatively to the word "socialism."

Who likes "militia"? No one, really, but the subgroup with the biggest showing of support was Republican men -- 36 percent view the term favorably, 53 percent view it unfavorably.

There's a lot to pick through, but I have two favorite results. One is the opinion of "capitalism" and "socialism" among people who make less than $30,000. They're divided on both. The positive-negative split on "socialism" is 44-46, while the split on "capitalism" is 47-40.

My other favorite result? Overall, 38 percent of Americans view "libertarian" favorably to 37 who view it unfavorably. Democrats (39-37) and independents (44-32) view the term most favorably, while Republicans view it negatively by a 13-point (31-44) margin.

By David Weigel  |  May 4, 2010; 1:14 PM ET
Categories:  Polls  
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Next: Turning 'teabagger' into a slur

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