Yet another poll, this time from the Washington Post-ABC News, tells us that Americans are becoming ever more libertarian.
Question number 40 in the telephone poll of “a random national sample of 1,083 adults” read like this:
“Generally speaking, would you say you favor (smaller government with fewer services), or (larger government with more services)?”
The result was that “smaller government/fewer services” won 58 percent to 38 percent.
This is the 19th time this question has been asked since July 1992, and the “smaller government/fewer services” side has always won, sometimes by as much as 60 to 63 percent.
Over at the Cato Institute Executive VP David Boaz complains that the question, as stated, is incomplete, because it doesn’t remind people that “larger government” translates into higher taxes while “smaller government” means lower taxes.
Boaz then points his readers to a Rasmussen Report from last December that factored in the tax question and came up with this result:
“Sixty-six percent (66%) of U.S. voters prefer a smaller government with fewer services and lower taxes over a more active government with more services and higher taxes.”
That’s frosting on the libertarian cake. People prefer smaller government, fewer services, and lower taxes.
So where are all those people hiding? They’re certainly not bringing those sentiments with them into the voting booth. The Libertarian Party has been running small government-fewer services-lower taxes candidates since 1971 and they’ve barely made a dent in the ballot results.
If 58% of voters believe in
“smaller government” why
didn’t Joe Kennedy win in
Massachusetts? (AP photo)
Some will say the problem is that the message just isn’t getting out to the voters.
But it certainly got out to the voters in Massachusetts. In fact, the message that there was a Libertarian in the election to put a body into the empty Ted Kennedy Senate seat got out all over the country.
Every news story about the contest made at least the obligatory mention of Joe Kennedy as a “third candidate” and quickly appended two tags: “no relation to the famous Kennedys” and “independent running as a Libertarian.”
So what happened at the polls? Given the choice of voting for a big government Democrat or a big government Republican or a small government-fewer services-lower taxes candidate, Bay State voters simply switched brands and elected yet another big government candidate.
Perhaps the polls that indicate Americans are becoming ever more libertarian should ask this question:
Why don’t “more libertarian” Americans vote for Libertarians?
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More Libertarian politics:
- Politicking as usual in the Commonwealth
- Why won’t Libertarian Republicans use the L word?
- Politics not as usual