Majority Of Americans Might Now Be Libertarian

The policy of the American government is to leave their citizens free, neither restraining nor aiding them in their pursuits. -Thomas Jefferson

The above quote is a decent summary of Libertarian values, and according to a poll that CNN has been conducting annually since 1993, the number of Americans that agree with those values hit a high in 2011. Even though they might not know it, and even though they definitely do not vote for the Libertarian Party, 63% of those polled believe in more economic freedom and 50% believe in more social freedom — both questions being measurements of Libertarianism and both figures being all-time highs for the poll. The figures are not correlated to each other, but if the 50% and the 63% overlap completely, then it would constitute a majority of Americans.

The questions are framed to suss out belief, as opposed to party affiliation: Republicans want no regulation of Wall Street, but want to keep marijuana illegal; Democrats want the opposite; Libertarians want both no regulation and to see pot legalized, and Fascists want no one to have any fun. So generally speaking, Republicans believe in economic freedom but not social freedom, Democrats believe in social but not economic freedom. Libertarians believe in both, and Fascists believe in no freedom. (If you’re curious about what you really are, has a test you can take).

The questions the poll asked which gauge Libertarianism are:

1. 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?

2. 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?

The CNN Poll (PDF), via The New York Times



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