Thursday, September 12, 2013 | No comments

Republicans Increasingly Leaning Libertarian

By Connor Boyack

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A new survey of registered voters commissioned by FreedomWorks points to the surging popularity of libertarian principles within the Republican party. According to the results, 78% of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents self-identify as fiscally conservative and socially moderate.

While the Republican party of yesteryear was most vocal on social conservative issues and a militaristic foreign policy, the voter base has shifted. When Republican voters were asked what they were most interested in, only 18% said a “strong national defense” and 27% chose “traditional values.” Showing the rise of the libertarian trend, 40% of respondents stated that “individual freedom through lower taxes and reducing the size and scope of government” captured their primary political interest.

Perhaps the most important metric is that 68% of Republicans agreed with the fundamental libertarian concept that “individuals should be free to do as they like as long as they don’t hurt others, and that the government should keep out of people’s day-to-day lives.” And as for affiliation, 26% of Republicans self-identified as “libertarian” or “lean libertarian.”

While a minority (26%) of Republicans applied the libertarian label to themselves, a majority (68%) support the underlying concepts. As the survey analysis shows (see page 12), these numbers have surged in the past decade, leading to almost triple gains in support for libertarianism within the GOP.

Several public opinion polls we have previously conducted amongst Utah voters suggest similar sympathies in this state, though likely to a lesser degree than the new nationwide trend. Still, incumbents and challengers alike will need to appeal to their libertarian constituencies in the years ahead if they desire electoral success—a fact that will culminate in voting trends that will increasingly reflect a respect for and protection of individual liberty.

This is welcome news.

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About the Author

Connor Boyack is president of Libertas Institute. He is the author of several books on politics and religion, including the Tuttle Twins series for children.


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