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Libertarian Party Press Releases

September 8, 2000

Surprising new survey: A whopping 16% of voters are really libertarians

WASHINGTON, DC -- A surprising new poll says more Americans are libertarians than conservatives or liberals -- suggesting that the traditional Left/Right political spectrum has become obsolete in the 21st century, the Libertarian Party said today.

According to a just-released survey by Rasmussen Research, 16% of Americans -- about one of every six voters -- strongly support libertarian positions on issues, compared to only 13% who are staunchly liberal and 7% who are consistently conservative.

Another 32% of Americans are centrists, 14% are "authoritarians," and 17% fall on "the borders" of the different categories, according to a nationwide poll of 822 likely voters unveiled yesterday at the website.

"According to this survey, libertarians appear to be the great stealth factor in American politics -- invisible to the radar of politicians and pundits who are used to thinking in terms of the old-fashioned Left/Right spectrum," said Steve Dasbach, national director of the Libertarian Party.

"Astonishingly, this survey also reveals that there are actually more libertarians than either conservatives, liberals, or authoritarians. This suggests that when Libertarian Party candidates are able to fashion together a coalition of libertarians, voters on the edges of libertarianism, and libertarian-leaning centrists, we could have an election-winning plurality."

The Rasmussen survey is the first wide-scale, scientifically accurate survey of the American public to use the so-called "World's Smallest Political Quiz," a 10-question quiz that measures political beliefs on a four-way axis -- conservative / liberal / libertarian / authoritarian -- rather than the traditional two-way conservative/liberal line.

The quiz, developed by Libertarian Party founder David Nolan and publicized by the non-partisan Advocates for Self Government, measures peoples' opinions on economic and personal issues by asking 10 questions about taxes, drug laws, immigration, business subsidies, minimum wage laws, foreign aid, and more.

According to the quiz, an individual supporting a high degree of both economic and personal freedom falls in the "libertarian" quadrant, while someone who supports government control in both areas lands in the "authoritarian" section.

An individual who supports personal liberty but wants the government to control the economy scores as a "liberal," while someone who favors economic liberty but wants the government to control personal behavior ends up in the "conservative" quadrant.

In response to the individual questions, surprisingly large numbers of Americans supported supposedly "radical" Libertarian positions on issues, noted Dasbach. For example:

* 28% agreed that drug laws did more harm than good and should be repealed.

* 30% agreed that all foreign aid should be privately funded.

* 42% agreed that businesses and farms should operate without government subsidies.

* 36% agreed that "we should end taxes" and Americans should pay for government services with user fees.

"The survey suggests there is a vast, untapped pool of Americans who hold very strong libertarian positions -- but do not yet realize they are libertarian," said Dasbach. "This voting block could become the most potent force in American politics in the 21st century, and that's good news for the Libertarian Party."

Interestingly, while 16% of voters scored libertarian, only 2% used that label to describe their political beliefs, according to the survey.

Previous surveys by Gallup have suggested that 19% to 22% of the population was libertarian, but had relied on a less rigorous two-question survey to arrive at that conclusion.

The Rasmussen survey had a margin of error of 3%.

-- Uncle Deedah (, September 20, 2000


* 36% agreed that "we should end taxes" and Americans should pay for government services with user fees.

I'm curious how this would work. Would we have to pay tolls on every road we use? My street too? And each time I flush, would I have to put a quarter in the toilet tank? And how about our super-power military status, what would happen wid dat? Would we all have to hire or sponsor our own soldier??

-- (, September 20, 2000.

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