Policy Documents

The Libertarian Vote in the Age of Obama

David Kirby and David Boaz –
January 21, 2010

In this Policy Analysis addressing the state of libertarianism in the age of Obama, the authors analyze the fiscally conservative, socially liberal voters and how they are torn between their aversions to the Republicans’ social conservatism and the Democrats’ fiscal irresponsibility. Yet libertarians rarely factor into pundits’ and pollsters’ analyses. However, in 2004 libertarians swung away from Bush, anticipating the Democratic victories of 2006. In 2008, according to the data, libertarians voted against Barack Obama. Furthermore, libertarians seem to be a lead indicator of trends in centrist, independent-minded voters. If libertarians continue to lead the independents away from Obama, Democrats will lose some 2010 seats.

While younger libertarians are more supportive of Obama, pro-life libertarians are more Republican than pro-choice. Imortant to note:  few of the voters describe themselves as libertarian. But the Ron Paul campaign and the burgeoning opposition to President Obama’s big-government agenda suggest that small-government voters may be easier to organize than they have been in the past.