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Rasmussen: Majority of small l libertarians planning to vote for Obama

reports that

Libertarian voters make up 4% of the nation’s likely voters and they favor Barack Obama over John McCain by a 53% to 38% margin. Three percent (3%) would vote for some other candidate and 5% are not sure. These results, from an analysis of 15,000 Likely Voter interviews conducted by Rasmussen Reports, challenges the conventional wisdom which assumes that strong support for a Libertarian candidate would hurt John McCain.

In June, Rasmussen Reports asked 15,000 Likely Voters if they were fiscally conservative, moderate, or liberal and if they were socially conservative, moderate, or liberal. This created a total of 16 possible combinations (not sure was a fourth option for both questions). However, 87% of voters fit into one of seven combinations. Libertarians, defined as fiscally conservative and socially liberal, are the smallest of these seven combinations.


  1. Gene Trosper Gene Trosper July 25, 2008

    It’s not difficult to target voters. I’ve done it before in a very rudimentary fashion with hardly any money. If I can do it, surely the LP can.

    I’ve argued for years that we should form a “shadow LP” to do the job that state and national won’t do.

  2. paulie cannoli paulie cannoli Post author | July 24, 2008

    Correct. LP is missing a big opportunity by consistently failing to target this group.

    However, Barr is an adept and adaptable politician, and could still shift his focus in that direction. He’s shown some inklings that he might do so, although too few and far in between so far.

  3. darren darren July 24, 2008

    Regardless of whether the small “l” libertarian screen was too tight (Gallup has consistently seen libertarians in the mid-teens), this is still 4% of voters who are voting for major parties when they should be easy targets for the Libertarian Party. That they prefer Obama to McCain just shows that the defining liberty issues of the day are the war in Iraq and civil liberties rather than taxes and regulation.

  4. Robert Milnes Robert Milnes July 24, 2008

    You talk too much. You never shut up!

  5. Mike Gillis Mike Gillis July 24, 2008

    Why would anyone need to, when you never shut up about it?

  6. Bill Woolsey Bill Woolsey July 24, 2008

    “libertarian” are people who said that they were socially liberal (rather than moderate or conservative” and also that they are economically conservative “rather than moderate or liberal.”

    This is not people who self describe as libertarian or else people whose positions social and economic issues are libertarian.

    My guess is that people with “socially liberal” positions on the issues don’t self-describe that way.

  7. paulie cannoli paulie cannoli Post author | July 24, 2008

    Depends what they mean by “libertarian”.

    Defined in second paragraph.

    I’ve seen polls in which the close-but-not-even-close social liberal/economic conservative definition is used that show “libertarians” as about one-quarter of the electorate.

    Probably because they did not include moderate as an option, as this poll did. It may also have something to do with the increasing skew of land line users, although that’s speculation.

    By that definition, by the way, Benito Giuliani is a libertarian.

    I don’t think he is even by that definition. His spending policies were far from fiscally conservative, and I don’t see how – for example – increasing drug (mostly marijuana) arrests by an order of magnitude or two, or waging a virtual war on street artists, among many other things – qualifies as socially liberal.

    Maybe he is a fiscal conservative because he did not waste too much government money to sync the Police and Fire Department radios?

  8. mscrib mscrib July 24, 2008

    Also, it’s important to remember that many people self-identify as “moderate,” whatever that’s supposed to mean. I’m willing to bet that there are plenty of libertarians or near-libertarians, or at least people sympathetic to libertarian aims, that identify as “moderate-moderate.” I’ve felt tempted to at times…

  9. paulie cannoli paulie cannoli Post author | July 24, 2008

    In what sense? Read the second paragraph. The one quibble that I would have with their methodology based on this article is that apparently they named McCain and Obama, but not any other candidates who are or likely to be on the ballot, biasing the results toward the top two.

  10. Nexus Nexus July 24, 2008

    I don’t buy that for a minute.

  11. Galileo Galilei Galileo Galilei July 24, 2008

    This info should be shoved down the GOP’s throat. If they don’t swallow, it should be shoved down the media’s throat. If Bob Barr doesn’t jump on this, the info should be shoved down his throat as well.

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