In a recent article on TheBlaze, Reason’s Matt Welch, FreedomWork’s Matt Kibbe, and David Boaz, speculated whether Romney can win over libertarians. As we’ve shown in previous studies, libertarians represent a key swing vote that decides elections.
Well, Emily Ekins and our friends at Reason shared with us data from a recent Reason-Rupe poll by which we can measure the libertarian vote. This is the best data point yet on where libertarians stand in the 2012 election.
The Reason-Rupe September 2012 poll includes our favorite ideological questions to differentiate libertarians from liberals and conservatives. Using three questions, we can define libertarians as respondents who believe “the less government the better,” who prefer the “free market” to handle problems, and who want government to “favor no particular set of values.” These fiscally conservative, socially liberal voters represent 20% of the public in the Reason-Rupe poll, in line with previous estimates.
In November we will see if this is true. Libertarians just like any other party have differences in what they think so it is possible many would vote for Rommey instead of voting for the libertarian candidate.