Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Forty four percent of the electorate will self-identify as Libertarian (if you give them enough hints)

I don't see any way to condense what the Cato institute has to say here, so I'm going to scrape the entire post. Gentlemen, my apologies.

In today’s Washington Post, William Kristol exults:

The Gallup poll released Monday shows the public’s conservatism at a high-water mark. Some 40 percent of Americans call themselves conservative, compared with 36 percent who self-describe as moderates and 20 percent as liberals.

Gallup often asks people how they describe themselves. But sometimes they classify people according to the values they express. And when they do that, they find a healthy percentage of libertarians, as well as an unfortunate number of big-government “populists.”

For more than a dozen years now, the Gallup Poll has been using two questions to categorize respondents by ideology:

  • Some people think the government is trying to do too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses. Others think that government should do more to solve our country’s problems. Which comes closer to your own view?
  • Some people think the government should promote traditional values in our society. Others think the government should not favor any particular set of values. Which comes closer to your own view?

Combining the responses to those two questions, Gallup found the ideological breakdown of the public shown below. With these two broad questions, Gallup consistently finds about 20 percent of respondents to be libertarian. The word “libertarian” isn’t well known, so pollsters don’t find many people claiming to be libertarian. And usually they don’t ask. But a large portion of Americans hold generally libertarian views — views that might be described as fiscally conservative and socially liberal, or as Gov. William Weld told the 1992 Republican National Convention, “I want the government out of your pocketbook and out of your bedroom.” They don’t fit the red-blue paradigm, and they have their doubts about both conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats. They’re potentially a swing vote in elections. Background on the libertarian vote here.

And note here: If you tell people that “libertarian” means “fiscally conservative and socially liberal,” 44 percent will accept the label.

That's right, 44%. Forty four percent. Combine that with this little nugget from the New York Times. Here's Jonathan Weisman:

Americans are growing increasingly pessimistic about the economy after a mild upswing of attitudes in September. But Republicans haven't been able to profit politically from the economic gloom, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll.
The survey found a country in a decidedly negative mood, nearly a year after the election of President Barack Obama. For the first time during the Obama presidency, a majority of Americans sees the country as being on the wrong track.

This is possibly caused by the memory of Presidents named Bush and Reagan setting spending records until they were upstaged by a President named Obama. One day the electorate will figure out that Republicans don't want to change the direction of the national vehicle, they just want to drive it and choose which gas stations and restaurants to support.

One day, the electorate is going to figure out that Democrats invented "don't ask, don't tell", they are partially responsible for us having 20% of the world's prison population (with only 5% of the world's population to pull from) with their insane War On Drugs, and that the Democrats' economic policies keep more minorities in poverty than anything the Klan could've invented.

The Libertarian Party - One day soon, we're going to march on Washington and demand.....Nothing ! !


Flee said...

What's that old saying, watch out for what you wish for....

TarrantLibertyGuy said...

Stephen Smith said it best on a few candidate debates: "The person on my left is going to tell you about her big plans for you. The person on my right is going to tell you about HER big plans for you. My plan is to protect you from other people's big plans, like those on my right and left."

The Whited Sepulchre said...

Or, as Tarrant Liberty Guy stated in an uncredited quote (above), at the last meetup, WE'RE GONNA MARCH ON WASHINGTON AND DEMAND.....nothing. nothing at all.

Anonymous said...

IT fascinates me-so many claiming the same label, with such a variety of meanings to each claimant. Ask twenty people what being a conservative means and get twenty different descriptions. We have problems communicating, because same words mean different things to different people. Its a 'double-think,double-talk mentality"

Anne Cleveland