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Libertarians for Obama!

It turns out (according to Rasmussen Reports), Libertarians are lining up for Obama:

Libertarian voters make up 4% of the nation’s likely voters and they favor Barack Obama over John McCain by a 53% to 38% margin.

This may come as a shock to some people (those mistakingly believing Libertarians are conservative), but to those understanding Libertarian philosophy (and Ron Paul), it makes perfect sense — there are three areas to conservatism (or liberalism, if you prefer):

  1. Foreign Policy
  2. Social Policy
  3. Fiscal Policy

Libertarians will generally be liberal on foreign policy (isolationist, anti-military, many are anti-Israel, etc), and liberal on social policy (legalize drugs and so on), while conservative fiscally (return to gold standard, etc).

If you listened to Ron Paul, he’s a textbook Libertarian — liberal on foreign policy and social policy, while fiscally conservative.

Thus, the only surprise in Rasmussen’s poll is Libertarians weight liberal social and foreign policy higher than conservative fiscal policy; Obama agrees with Libertarians on foreign policy and social policy (both quite liberal), while disagreeing with the conservative fiscal policy Libertarians support.

It’s what we’ve said all along, Libertarians align more with the Dennis Kucinich wing of the Democratic party (and Obama), much more than the Reagan wing of the Republican party.

You can like Libertarian philosophy or not, but it’s definitely not conservative.



  1. Colin says:

    This is a tremendously unfair analysis. The reason why libertarians favour Obama over McCain is because the number one current issue to libertarians is the war, the second being civil liberties. They do not broadly agree with democrats on social or foreign policy (nor do they agree with McCain on fiscal policy). But in the narrow choice between Barack Obama and John McCain, they would easily pick Obama for this reason, not because they agree with 2/3 of the democratic platform.

    Libertarians came out of the Barry Goldwater conservative movement and embraced Ronald Regan for saying things like this before he was president:

    If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism. I think conservatism is really a misnomer just as liberalism is a misnomer for the liberals–if we were back in the days of the Revolution, so-called conservatives today would be the Liberals and the liberals would be the Tories. The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is.

    Now, I can’t say that I will agree with all the things that the present group who call themselves Libertarians in the sense of a party say, because I think that like in any political movement there are shades, and there are libertarians who are almost over at the point of wanting no government at all or anarchy. I believe there are legitimate government functions. There is a legitimate need in an orderly society for some government to maintain freedom or we will have tyranny by individuals. The strongest man on the block will run the neighborhood. We have government to insure that we don’t each one of us have to carry a club to defend ourselves. But again, I stand on my statement that I think that libertarianism and conservatism are travelling the same path.

    For more on Ron Paul (since the author brought him up as an example of those radical left wing libertarians) and Ronald Regan, this short video makes it quite clear that these men had quite a bit in common. It also shows have far to the left the Republicans have shifted.

    Most libertarians began as conservatives who read either Ayn Rand, Ludwig Von Mises or Milton Friedman. There is almost no significant left-libertarian movement in existence.

    In fact, the reason that conservatives and libertarians have much less in common these days is because conservatives have tolerated, and even embraced, the neo-conservative movement, militarism, nationalism and statists such as John McCain. This divide reveals how far to the left the (liberal/conservative) spectrum has swung in the past few decades, while libertarianism (the philosophy – not necessarily the party) has generally remained true to its principles (agree with them or not).

  2. […] Democratic party appears more congruent with libertarian values than the Republican party is. The Constitutional Conservative explains: There are three areas to conservatism (or liberalism, if you […]

  3. Scott says:

    Neoconservatism was actually born out of the political left as a goal to spread democracy abroad. Colin is correct in his assessment, McCain is too left-leaning to be supported by any honest libertarian or conservative.

    Obama is even further left than McCain, and, aside from his stance on ending the war in Iraq, he is no friend to any proponent of small government and rugged individualism.

    I think I’ll vote for Bob Barr.

  4. […] his disciples will (generally) never support McCain — as we’ve pointed out before (see Libertarians for Obama), Libertarians (like Paul) are liberal on social policy (legalize drugs, prostitution, and so on), […]

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