Apr 18

Two Phenomena That May Be Related: Voters Becoming Overwhelmingly Libertarian, Democrats Becoming Old and Tired


Economist John C. Goodman is out with an interesting column stating that libertarian voters outnumber conservatives and liberals. Specifically, “38 percent of the public identifies as “conservative” and 24 percent as “liberal” in the latest [Gallup] poll,” while at least one major [2006 Cato Institute/Zogby] poll found that fully 59 percent of Americans say they are “fiscally conservative and socially liberal.”

This is interesting because both the “conservative” and “liberal” camps at one time included large numbers of libertarians. However, in recent election cycles, libertarian-leaning voters have moved toward the Republican Party. And the Democratic Party–which once championed privacy, limits on police and surveillance, and due process rights–has moved more exclusively into the area of old-school socialism and simple economic redistribution. Reason Magazine’s Matt Welch is out with a column asking “Why Are the Democrats So Old and Tired?” Welch notes that

If there was to be a Tea Party-style wave of contested Democratic primaries (and there won’t be any time soon), it would likely not be on the issues of drug policy or surveillance (alas!), but rather income inequality, Robin Hood taxes, and jacking up the minimum wage to $15 an hour.