I hope this is True

It would be nice to think that we are this numerous:

These federal intrusions are especially scorned by
independent voters in the Western states where Republicans have been
losing ground, like Colorado, Nevada, Arizona and Montana. Western
Democrats have been siphoning off libertarian voters by moderating
their liberal views on issues like gun control, but Republicans have
been driving libertarians away with their wars on vice and their
jeremiads against gay marriage (and their attempt to regulate that from
Washington, too).

Libertarian voters tend to get ignored by political strategists
because they're not easy to categorize or organize. They don't
congregate in churches or union halls; they don't unite to push
political agendas. Many don't even call themselves libertarians,
although they qualify because of their social liberalism and economic
conservatism: they want the government out of their bedrooms as well as
their wallets.

They distrust moral busybodies of both parties, and they may well be
the most important bloc of swing voters this election, as David Boaz
and David Kirby conclude in a new study for the Cato Institute.
Analyzing a variety of voter surveys, they estimate that libertarians
make up about 15 percent of voters "” a bloc roughly comparable in size
to liberals and to conservative Christians, and far bigger than blocs
like Nascar dads or soccer moms.

I am not sure I believe it - many of the people who claim to be small government turn into statist technocrats when the right issue comes up.

I will say that the Internet and blogging in particular has really brought many libertarians to the surface.  I wrote about the phenomena of libertarians and blogging here.

  • http://unrepentantindividual.com/ Brad Warbiany

    I think the ranks of people who are generally libertarian would be about that large. As you say, it usually takes the right issue for them to ditch libertarianism and be a statist... That's what separates the true ideological libertarians, who can split their own personal prejudices from certain issues and stick to libertarianism. But that doesn't make the voting block any less powerful.

    What has hurt the libertarian voting block is that the Democrats suck, the Republicans take us for granted, and the Libertarian Party is a joke. The Republicans take us for granted because we keep voting for them. And while I doubt the general libertarians will come out and vote Democrat, I know I'm planning on staying home next Tuesday because I refuse to vote for the Republican.

    That's why the storyline of talk radio isn't that the Republicans are living up to their promises, it's how bad things will be if the Democrats actually were to regain power. They're not selling the libertarian voters on their ability to be either fiscally conservative or socially liberal. They're selling us on how much worse the alternative is.

    If libertarians stay home this election, the Democrats will win. The question then will be whether the Republicans accurately understand that it was the fracture in their coalition that caused it, and change their ways. But I know if the libertarians come out and vote Republican, as we usually do, the Republicans certainly won't change their ways.

  • http://CaseySoftware.com/blog Keith Casey

    I think it's interesting that some of the lefties are starting to realize that Libertarians can sway elections, otherwise you wouldn't see the abomination that is Cato Unbound. I have a Ragin' Liberal friend who has been taking talking points from there to try to convince me to join up. Ha.

  • BobH

    When the Democrats cut loose from the public employee unions (e.g., when they support school choice), I'll consider voting for them. I don't expect it to happen anytime soon.

  • http://politics.lel-hosting.com/ Matt

    If they vote like a libertarian on most issues, I'm happy to count them as a libertarian, even if they have one or two positions that deviate from ideological purity. It's because they're unwilling to compromise on purity that the LP runs such jokers for office.

    A person whose tendencies run toward liberty but who retains a couple of anti-liberty positions on a couple of individual issues is a person who might be susceptible to reason on those issues. Whereas trying to argue a yellow-dog Democrat (or rock-ribbed Republican) into a more libertarian outlook can be like trying to argue a brick wall into growing a door.

    At the moment, I suspect giving the House back to the Democrats might be a good step toward constructive gridlock. As long as the Republicans have the Senate we stand a decent chance of Janice Rogers Brown being named for the next vacancy on the Supreme Court, and as long as they have the White House it's unlikely that we'll lose a city to nuclear attack. Whereas a Democrat-written budget might inspire Bush to inquire about the location of the "VETO" stamp he hasn't touched since the day he took office...and the nation would be a far better place if that were to happen.