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29 May 2011

Libertarians Rock the Boat

Interesting article from Jan 2010: The Libertarian Vote in the Age of Obama.
Libertarian — or fiscally conservative, socially liberal — voters are often torn between their aversions to the Republicans' social conservatism and the Democrats' fiscal irresponsibility. Yet libertarians rarely factor into pundits' and pollsters' analyses.
According to this article, Libertarians swung back and forth in such a manner that, if the trend continues
Democrats will lose 2010 midterm elections they would otherwise win.
Time for the numbers.  14% of the voters are Libertarian.  Obviously 14% do not vote Libertarian, and the article doesn't mention which ones lean which ways.  More numbers.  A 2009 Gallup poll showed 23% had libertarian views.  A Zogby poll found that 59% consider themselves socially liberal and fiscally conservative, and 44% agreed that the term libertarian was applicable.

Who's kooky and on the fringe now?

Libertarians voted 71/27 for McCain.  He had good money sense and never talked about social issues.  Also, the idea of Democrats controlling Congress and POTUS was scary.  Younger Libertarians were more supportive of Obama, which really does make sense.  I'd be very interested to know how those people feel about him now.

Abortion is the social issue that splits most Libertarians when they have to pick R or D.  I find that mind-boggling.  On the surface, sure, of course pro-choice people would have a difficult time voting for a pro-life candidate...  But you cannot have fiscal conservatism with a big govt, and those are central tenants to Libertarian philosophy.  Libertarians who vote Democrat are saying that a woman's right to choose is more important than the country's fiscal future.  Yeah, it kicks me in the gut when I have to support pro-lifers (and so I try and do my part at the grassroots level to move the cause forward), but I just can't prioritize one social issue over the entire country's finances.  Who's gonna care about abortion rights when we're broke and hospitals start declaring bankruptcy?
Few of the voters we describe as libertarian identify themselves as such. But the Ron Paul campaign and the burgeoning opposition to President Obama's big-government agenda suggest that small-government voters may be easier to organize than they have been in the past.
I wish the TEA Party could be the new Libertarian party.  In many ways it is, but the social issues weigh us down.  I wish people could take their religion out of their politics.  I wish, I wish.  I suppose it's something that the TEA Party puts fiscal issues first, and the social issues aren't part of the platform.  It's small, but it's something.

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