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Reaction to “Libertarian” Divided

While the small-government advocacy of the Tea Party movement and other conservative candidates has drawn attention to some libertarian beliefs,Americans are evenly split in their judgments of the word “libertarian.” When asked for their reaction to the word, as many give a positive response (38%) as give a negative response (37%). About one-in-ten (9%) have neither a positive or negative reaction to the term, while 16% don’t know or refused to respond. In fact, with nearly a quarter of the public not having a positive or negative reaction, “libertarian” produced far fewer responses than words such as “socialism” or “capitalism” or “progressive.” Also, though most libertarian-friendly candidates find a home in the GOP, on balance, Republicans have a negative reaction to “libertarian.” Fully 44% of Republicans give a negative response to the word, while just three-in-ten (31%) have a positive response. In contrast, Democrats are divided (39% positive, 37% negative) and independents are positive (44% positive, 32% negative) to “libertarian.” Read More