"Big Tent" Libertarian Values Reach Highest Level in Decades

By USDR

A new FreedomWorks' national poll finds that fiscal issues and the role of government take top priority across the GOP voter base, early evidence that political dynamics in 2014 will resemble the 2010 mid-term elections. Big-tent “libertarian” values within the Republican Party and the American voter population at-large are at the highest level in a decade.

Voters on both sides of the political aisle are increasingly skeptical of government power on a wide range of issues, including the United States' role in international conflicts, NSA surveillance, IRS targeting of conservative nonprofits, Obamacare and the debt ceiling. Forty-one percent of Republican voters hold “libertarian” values, while 61 percent believe the federal government has “too much power” after hearing questions on the NSA, IRS, and Obamacare.

FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe commented, “We are seeing a realignment of the GOP, and a return to the fiscal policy priorities that fueled the last Republican midterm sweep. It's 2009 all over again, only this time combined with a growing distrust of an executive branch plagued with scandal. Between the debt, unemployment, Syria, constant budgetary trickery and GOP reluctance to take a bold stance on defunding Obamacare, a perfect storm is brewing for a referendum on the unchecked authority and arrogance of big government in 2014.”

David Kirby, FreedomWorks' Vice President of Opinion Research commented, “Civil liberties and spending issues are scrambling the old foundations of the Republican Party. In the 1980's, Ronald Reagan called the Republican coalition a three-legged stool of individual freedom, traditional values, and defense. Today it's a lopsided stool. Forty percent of Republican voters said they are most interested in promoting 'individual freedom through lower taxes and reducing the size and scope of government,' versus 27 percent 'traditional values' or 18 percent 'strong national defense.'”

Other key findings of the poll include:

  • Two-thirds of Republican voters want their Congressmen to “stick to principles”; a majority prefer candidates with “strong principles” compared to candidates party leaders say are “more likely to win” in 2014 primaries
  • Sixty-one percent of American voters think the “economic policies coming out of Washington” are “hurting” rather than “helping”
  • Only 17 percent of all voters believe Obamacare will have positive personal impact, a new low point since the law was passed in March 2010; Sixty-two percent of all voters prefer a 'patient-centered' health care system that allows for competition and choice
  • Eighty-one percent of Republican voters oppose a debt ceiling increase, with 66 percent “strongly” opposing the increase
  • Fifty-one percent of Republicans think the U.S. should not “take the leading role among all other countries in the world in trying to solve international conflicts,” compared to 39 percent who say the U.S. should

FreedomWorks over-sampled specific demographic groups, including 400 black voters, 400 Hispanic voters, 300 voters ages 18-24 and 400 voters ages 25-32, and found that:

  • A majority of young voters favor smaller government, fewer services, lower taxes; two-thirds believe their generation will be “worse off” than the generation before
  • A majority of young voters agree that it is unfair for to ask them to pay more for health care in order to “subsidize older generations;” less than half of young people would choose to purchase health insurance with premium increases of “more than 40 percent” over paying a fine of “a few hundred dollars”
  • One-third of black voters think the Democratic Party “takes them for granted”
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The polling company, inc./WomanTrend, on behalf of FreedomWorks, conducted the interviews comprising 85 percent landlines and 15 percent cell phones. The nationwide survey of 1,000 registered voters was conducted between July 29 and August 5, 2013. The margin of error (MoE) for the national survey is +/- 3.0 percent. The MoEs for the black and Hispanic voters over-samples are both +/- 4.9 percent. The MoEs for voters ages 18-24 and voters ages 25-32 are both +/- 5.6 percent. In the poll, “libertarian” is defined through tracking ideology using a combination of questions on the role of government in economic and social spheres.

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