Friday, January 22, 2010

More on the Cato study on the number of Libertarians...

It's a highly recommended read, especially if you take the time to read the complete material shared and not just the summary by David Boaz. It's creating a great deal of discussion in the Libertarian online communities out there.

Something they found surprising but I didn't find surprising given my years of political debating online:

Finally, we commissioned Zogby International to ask our three ANES questions to 1,012 actual (reported) voters in the 2006 election… We asked half the sample, “Would you describe yourself as fiscally conservative and socially liberal?” We asked the other half of the respondents, “Would you describe yourself as fiscally conservative and socially liberal, also known as libertarian?”

The results surprised us. Fully 59 percent of the respondents said “yes” to the first question. That is, by 59 to 27 percent, poll respondents said they would describe themselves as “fiscally conservative and socially liberal.”

The problem is as the next part shows:

The addition of the word “libertarian” clearly made the question more challenging. What surprised us was how small the drop-off was. A healthy 44 percent of respondents answered “yes” to that question, accepting a self-description as “libertarian.”

Most people don't think of that as the definition of Libertarian, so if you were to ask them outside of that type of a polling they'd have a concept of someone who was pro-pot, pro-gun and anti-government. The media has helped to contribute to the impressions people have been given as to what a Libertarian really is, and even those who call themselves Libertarian don't always agree on the complete platform. Which is not only normal, but the same with all of the political parties out there. One of the reasons I believe a good number of people don't label themselves...

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