What % of Americans Are Libertarians?
- 0.24% of American voters register Libertarian.
- 0.4% of Americans vote Libertarian for President.
- 2% of Americans self-identify unprompted as "libertarian".
- 9% of Americans were rated libertarian by a 2004 Pew survey asking three questions on economic issues—government health insurance, government regulation, and private retirement accounts for Social Security—and three social issues—gay marriage, banning books in school libraries, and government promotion of morality.
- 33% of these libertarians were younger than 30, compared to 25% for the next-youngest-skewing group (liberals).
- 59% of these libertarians were male, compared to 51% for conservates and 47% for the other groups.
- 31% of these libertarians earned >$75K/yr, compared to 29% for liberals and less than 22% for the other groups.
- Libertarians and liberals were the least black (7%), compared to 10% of conservatives and 15% of the other groups (in contrast to the WSPQ result below).
- 13% of Americans — and 15% of actual voters — agree
- the government is trying to do too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses,
- the government should not favor any particular set of values, and
- the federal government today has too much power.
- Of these 13% of Americans, 50% call themselves "conservative", 31% call themselves "moderate", 10% call themselves "liberal" or "progressive", and 9% call themselves "libertarian".
- 16% of Americans polled using the World's Smallest Political Quiz fall into the libertarian quadrant.
- 21% of blacks scored libertarian, but only 9% scored liberal.
- 21% of Americans agree
- the government is trying to do too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses, and
- the government should not favor any particular set of values.
- 44% of Americans agree when asked if they consider themselves "fiscally conservative and socially liberal, also known as libertarian".
- 59% of Americans agree when asked if they consider themselves “fiscally conservative and socially liberal.”
Where Are Americans On The Nolan Chart?
|2006 Gallup 2-question poll||21%||21%||25%||20%||12%|
|2004 Pew 6-question poll||9%||18%||15%||16%||42%|
|2000 WSPQ||16%||13%||7%||14%||32% + 17%|
Are Libertarians Gaining Ground?
|Gallup 2-question poll||20%||20%||18%||19%||19%||23%||21%||21%|
|Gallup 3-question poll||9%||11%||9%||13%|
|ANES 3-question poll||9%||11%||13%||13%|
|ANES 3Q, as % of voters||12%||12%||14%||15%|
Jan 2007, Cato Institute
One Rasmussen poll found that only 2 percent of respondents characterized themselves as libertarians, even though 16 percent held libertarian views on a series of questions. In our Zogby survey we found that only 9 percent of voters with libertarian views identify themselves that way. Voters we identified as libertarian identified themselves this way:
|How Libertarians Voted in 2006|
Dec 2006, David Boaz, Cato Institute
In our study, “The Libertarian Vote,” we analyzed 16 years of polling data and found that libertarians constituted 13% of the electorate in 2004. Because libertarians are better educated and more likely to vote, they were 15% of actual voters. Libertarians are broadly defined as people who favor less government in both economic and personal issues. They might be summed up as “fiscally conservative, socially liberal” voters. […] This year we commissioned a nationwide post-election survey of 1013 voters from Zogby International. We again found that 15 percent of the voters held libertarian views.
One more bit from our post-election Zogby poll: We asked voters if they considered themselves “fiscally conservative and socially liberal.” A whopping 59% said they did. When we added to the question “also known as libertarian,” 44% still claimed that description.
Oct 2006, David Boaz, Cato Institute. 28pp
The Gallup Governance Survey consistently finds about 20 percent of respondents giving libertarian answers to a two-question screen. Our own data analysis is stricter. We find 9 to 13 percent libertarians in the Gallup surveys, 14 percent in the Pew Research Center Typology Survey, and 13 percent in the American National Election Studies.
Gallup asks Americans if they agree
- the government is trying to do too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses
- the government should not favor any particular set of values
|2006, Sept. 7 - 10||21||20||21||25||12|
|2005, Sept.12 - 15||24||19||21||27||9|
|2004, Nov. 19 - 21||16||19||23||30||12|
|2004, Sept. 13 - 15||20||20||17||29||14|
|2003, Sept. 8 - 10||19||22||19||31||9|
|2002, Sept. 5 - 8||18||23||19||29||11|
|2001, Oct. 5 - 6||18||30||17||23||12|
|2001, Sept. 7 - 10||16||18||22||30||14|
|2000, Sept. 11 - 13||16||18||18||30||18|
|1999, Sept. 10 - 14||15||23||23||31||8|
|1998, Oct. 29 - 30||14||23||19||29||15|
|1998, Apr. 17 - 19||13||17||21||34||15|
|1997, Jan. 31 - Feb 2||13||17||24||31||15|
|1996, Jan. 12 - 15||13||20||20||35||12|
|1994, Nov. 2 - 6||15||20||20||32||13|
|1994, Oct. 22 - 25||16||19||21||33||11|
|1994, Jan. 15 - 17||16||20||22||30||14|
|1993, Dec. 17 - 19||13||23||22||31||11|
|1993, Apr. 22 - 24||17||25||20||27||11|
|1993, Mar. 22 - 24||20||27||19||24||10|
Drawing on poll data from the University of Michigan’s Center for Political Studies, [Maddox and Lilie] constructed a new matrix of political ideologies. They selected three CPS questions relating to government intervention in the economy and three others involving personal freedom and “social issues.” On the basis of answers to those questions, they categorized respondents as liberal, conservative, libertarian, or populist:
|Distribution of Ideological Types (percent)|
In April 2006 the Pew Research Center issued an analysis of data from its December 2004 survey of 2,000 people. Researchers used three questions on economic issues—government health insurance, government regulation, and private retirement accounts for Social Security—and three social issues—gay marriage, banning books in school libraries, and government promotion of morality. They then sorted respondents into the four categories based on their answers to those questions:
- 9% libertarian
- 18% liberal
- 15% conservative
- 16% populist
- 42% ambivalent
The American National Election Studies data also allow us to identify libertarians in the electorate. ANES has asked the same questions for 15 years. We used these questions:
- Next, I am going to ask you to choose which of two statements I read comes closer to your own opinion. You might agree to some extent with both, but we want to know which one is closer to your own views: ONE, The less government, the better; or TWO, There are more things that government should be doing.
- ONE, We need a strong government to handle today’s complex economic problems; or, TWO, The free market can handle these problems without government being involved.
- We should be more tolerant of people who choose to live according to their own moral standards, even if they are very different from our own. (Do you agree strongly, agree somewhat, neither agree nor disagree, disagree somewhat, or disagree strongly with this statement?)
Only those respondents who said “the less government the better,” “the free market can handle these problems,” and strongly agreed or agreed that “we should be more tolerant” were classified as libertarian. The results:
|Libertarians as % of voting-age population||9||9||11||13||13|
|Libertarians as % of reported voters||12||12||14||15|
Using the [“World’s Smallest Political Quiz”], a Portrait of America telephone survey of 822 likely voters found 32% of American voters are centrists; 16% are libertarians; 14% are authoritarians; 13% liberal; 7% are conservative; and, 17% border one or more categories.
While the test identified 16% of the voting population as libertarian, only 2% of the respondents identified themselves with that label when given a chance.
Libertarians and centrists are equally distributed throughout the Democratic and Republican parties.
Portrait of America conducted this national telephone survey of 822 likely voters on August 23, 2000. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. […]
African Americans comprise the least number of left liberals (9%) and the highest number of libertarians (21%).
Liberty Magazine 1998 Poll
The Old Liberty And The New - breaks out LP members from 1988 and 1998 Liberty Magazine polls
The Demographics of Liberty - detailed demographics of Liberty Magazine readers, polled in 1988 and 1998.
|Belief||LP 87||Lib 88||Lib 98||LP 98||Lib 08|
|Government should be eliminated altogether.||31%||31%||13%||8%||10.5%|
|An employee of the state is a receiver of stolen goods and therefore is committing an improper act.||57%||31%||27%||32%||18.1%|
|No person has the right to initiate physical force against another human being.||81%||90%||62%|
|It is always wrong to initiate force against another human being.||50%||39.7%|
|The U.S. should remove all restrictions on immigration.||71%||69%||50%||60%||29.7%|
|The U.S. should remove all tariffs immediately.||89%||90%||62%||57%|
|A proper government would have an absolutely isolationist foreign policy.||45%||53%||30%||22%||32.4%|
|"LP 87" and "LP 98" are NatCon attendees; "Lib 88", "Lib 98", "Lib 08" are Liberty readers.|