In studies that David Kirby and I have published at the Cato Institute on “the libertarian vote,” we have found that only 2 to 4 percent of Americans say that they’re libertarian when asked. But 15 to 20 percent – 30 to 40 million Americans – hold libertarian views on a range of questions. The latest Gallup Governance Survey finds 24 percent of respondents falling into the libertarian quadrant, matching the number of conservatives and liberals and up from 17 percent in 2004 and 23 percent in 2008. And when asked in a Zogby poll if they would define themselves as “fiscally conservative and socially liberal, also known as libertarian,” fully 44 percent of respondents – 100 million Americans – accept the label. Those voters are not locked into either party, and politicians trying to attract the elusive “swing vote” should take a look at those who lean libertarian.
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