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GGPViper
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25 Aug 2014, 11:58 am

Pew Research just released a short study investigating the political beliefs of Libertarians in the United States (N=432, error margin is +/- 6.2 percent).

It is a follow-up on another Pew study categorizing US citizens into multiple political typologies, which I posted about here: http://www.wrongplanet.net/postt262177.html

Libertarians were not included as one of these categories, Pew Research did release some short comments on why this was the case (see the last question): http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/20 ... -typology/

Anyway, the following may give us a better look at the self-professed Libertarian group and provide some explanation why Pew decided not to include it as a political category of its own.

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Study: http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/20 ... ertarians/
Methodology: http://www.people-press.org/2014/08/25/ ... s-topline/

The perhaps most interesting result from this study (other than the skewed gender ratio among libertarians) is perhaps how little self-professed libertarians (who make up 11 percent of the US public according to the study) actually diverge from the opinions of other US citizens. As demonstrated above, even on a such supposedly fundamental Libertarian issue as government regulation of business there is only a slightly smaller (41 vs. 47 percent) percentage of Libertarians believing that government regulation is necessary compared to US citizens as a whole. On the issue of police stopping subjects suspected of a crime, there is basically no difference at all, and Libertarians are more likely than US citizens as a whole to advocate US involvement in world affairs.

And even where differences exist, they are not *that* pronounced. Even though Libertarians are 10 percentage points less likely to believe that corporations are making too much profit, almost half of all Libertarians (46 percent) still agree with this statement. The largest Libertarian deviation from the public as a whole is in fact not found on any economic issue, but on the issue of marijuana, where Libertarians are 11 percentage points more likely to support marijuana legalization than the US public.

And in the first link above, Pew Research actually points out that the usefulness of a Libertarian category might be limited. Here is what their attempt yielded (when compared to the previously mentioned political typology):

Pew Research wrote:
In the process of running several different models in creating the typology, we came up with one early version of the typology that had 12 groups, including a group that resembled libertarians. But the model was impractical, in part because it produced groups that were too small to analyze, and this set of groups did not persist across other models.

Under this one model, the group with a libertarian profile constituted about 5% of the public. They hold generally conservative views on the social safety net, regulation and business; liberal attitudes on homosexuality and immigration; and are less supportive of the use of military force when compared with the more conservative-leaning typology groups. They also are younger, on average, than most of the other groups (though a majority are 30 or older). But many members of this group diverge from libertarian thinking on key issues, including about half who say affirmative action is a good thing and that stricter environmental laws are worth the cost.

All in all, it appears that the political views of self-professed US Libertarians aren't all that different from the political views of the average US citizen.

Please discuss.



babybird
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25 Aug 2014, 12:56 pm

I thought they were some kind of new age punk band.


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25 Aug 2014, 1:32 pm

There are more benefits in being a conservative than being a libertarian.
Conservatives are heartless and evil.
Libertarians are only heartless.


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Last edited by Raptor on 25 Aug 2014, 1:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

ooOoOoOAnaOoOoOoo
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25 Aug 2014, 1:35 pm

Haha libertarians are why we have so much government today - in response to the big mess they made when this country was more libertarian. It's a romantic sentiment it just won't work in reality. It's more about infants screaming to have their own way all the time and we all know we ALL cannot have our own way all the time it's not feasible unless you are all alone somewhere. It's just one of those things that works only for a tiny fraction of people inhabiting rural areas. I believe they can do it out there where no one is around to holler bout how their libertarianism bothers anyone.



0_equals_true
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25 Aug 2014, 4:52 pm

I would like to be a libertarian. I'm reluctant use the word, because I believe it is something to aim for. So many people call themselves that IMO fall sort. It is very fashionable, but few really are.

If I was a libertarian I would be a trade libertarian. So I'm really a trade liberal. Not to be confused with the social democrat definition of 'liberal'.

But actually I'd rather define myself as a competitionist as this is the fundamental driving force of my political thought.



Tim_Tex
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25 Aug 2014, 7:03 pm

There are right-leaning libertarians, and left-leaning libertarians.

But for the most part, it's associated with the Libertarian Party, or the "old guard" Republicans. Libertarianism is associated historically with people like Ike Eisenhower and Barry Goldwater, and more recently with Gary Johnson, and Ron and Rand Paul.


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Stannis
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25 Aug 2014, 11:12 pm

I suspect it's because rightwing libertarianism is mainly just the oligarchy manufacturing the consent of people who have self identified with the myth of rugged individualism.

In other words, It's primarily an astroturf movement.

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Last edited by Stannis on 27 Aug 2014, 4:05 am, edited 3 times in total.

luanqibazao
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26 Aug 2014, 1:05 am

GGPViper wrote:
All in all, it appears that the political views of self-professed US Libertarians aren't all that different from the political views of the average US citizen.


Another reason not to use the label. If "libertarian" now means "Goldwater Republican, only less principled," then it doesn't mean anything.

It is interesting that a lot of people whose actual views aren't terribly libertarian, as usually defined, nonetheless choose to self-identify as libertarians. Perhaps "liberal" and "conservative" have lost their luster.