Poll: Republicans embracing libertarian priorities

by JAMES HOHMANN | Politco  |  published on September 17, 2013

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A new poll confirms a libertarian renaissance in 2013.

FreedomWorks commissioned a national survey of registered voters last month, shared first with POLITICO, that finds 78 percent of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents self-identify as fiscally conservative and socially moderate.

It’s not that Republicans are suddenly self-identifying as “libertarians” and devouring Ayn Rand novels, but more that they seem to be embracing underlying libertarian priorities and views about the role of government.

The GOP dominated politics for a generation with a coalition of libertarians, social conservatives and defense hawks that Ronald Reagan successfully cobbled together in 1980. The tea party-affiliated FreedomWorks argues in a 23-page report that the so-called three-legged stool has become lopsided.

The poll asked Republican voters what they are most interested in: 40 percent said “individual freedom through lower taxes and reducing the size and scope of government,” 27 percent picked “traditional values” and 18 percent chose a “strong national defense.”

Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway, who ran the poll, said she’s seeing a spike in voters who feel the government is too expensive, invasive and expansive.

“The perfect storm is being created between the NSA, the IRS, the implementation of Obamacare and now Syria,” she said. “People are looking at the government more suspiciously. They’re looking with deeper scrutiny and reasonable suspicion.”

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