Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Libertarians at an all time high and I don't mean drugs.

David Boaz, at the Cato Institute, has made it a hobby to keep track of the opinion polls and what they reveal about libertarian sentiments. One problem in doing this is that you can't simply ask people if they are libertarians since many people don't know the term, and don't know what it means if they do know the term.

But Gallup has asked two questions to help determine political ideology from respondents. Boaz lists the two questions as:
Some people think the government is trying to do too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses. Others think that government should do more to solve our country’s problems. Which comes closer to your own view?

Some people think the government should promote traditional values in our society. Others think the government should not favor any particular set of values. Which comes closer to your own view.
A libertarian would say that the government is doing too much in the economy and would say that government should not be int he business of promoting "traditional values." Combine the percentages of people taking both positions and you have a rough idea of how many people are inclined toward libertarianism—whether they know it or not. Here are the results of a yearly poll since 2000. And the trend is upward. Almost one in four Americans is inclined toward liberty.