This is a result from a recent Rasmussen poll. This suggests that the financial crisis is destroying more than economic resources, its altering peoples view of the whole system.
Just 53% of adult Americans think capitalism is better than socialism. Of the remaining 47%: 20% say socialism is better and 27% are not sure which is better. In terms of age, adults under 30 are essentially evenly divided: 37% prefer capitalism, 33% socialism, and 30% are undecided. Thirty-somethings are a bit more supportive of the free-enterprise approach with 49% for capitalism and 26% for socialism. Adults over 40 strongly favor capitalism, and just 13% of those older Americans believe socialism is better. But you should note that the question posed by Rasmussen Reports did not define either capitalism or socialism.
It is interesting to compare the new results to an earlier survey in which 70% of Americans prefer a free-market economy. The fact that a "free-market economy" attracts substantially more support than "capitalism" may suggest some skepticism about whether capitalism in the United States today relies on free markets. One interpretation of this, is that Americans may not be anti-free markets and property rights as such, but that they think that the present system of (so-called) capitalism is not free market, it is more a system where big government and big business work together to distort government neutrality and free markets to benefit special interests. This is an interpretation which has much to support it. In fact other survey data supports that notion. Rather than seeing large corporations as committed to free markets, two-out-of-three Americans believe that big government and big business often work together in ways that hurt consumers and investors
Another interesting point is that just 14% believe the federal government would do a better job running auto companies, and even fewer (11%) believe government would do a better job running financial firms. So most people don't see the government as being able to run a business.
One wonders just how different people in New Zealand would think.