Gallup Poll Ignores Libertarians
By Staff News & Analysis - October 27, 2009

Conservatives continue to outnumber moderates and liberals in the American populace in 2009, confirming a finding that Gallup first noted in June. Forty percent of Americans describe their political views as conservative, 36% as moderate, and 20% as liberal. This marks a shift from 2005 through 2008, when moderates were tied with conservatives as the most prevalent group. "Changes among political independents appear to be the main reason the percentage of conservatives has increased nationally over the past year: the 35% of independents describing their views as conservative in 2009 is up from 29% in 2008." The 2009 data are based on 16 separate Gallup surveys conducted from January through September, encompassing more than 5,000 national adults per quarter. Conservatives have been the dominant ideological group each quarter, with between 39% and 41% of Americans identifying themselves as either "very conservative" or "conservative." Between 35% and 37% of Americans call themselves "moderate," while the percentage calling themselves "very liberal" or "liberal" has consistently registered between 20% and 21% — making liberals the smallest of the three groups. – Gallup

Dominant Social Theme: Conservatives advance?

Free-Market Analysis: This is a great article that shows just how the manipulation of labels confuses ideological and political issues. Gallup purposefully chooses to define individuals as conservative, moderate or liberal, whatever those labels mean. In our modest opinion, this is not logical because the results tend to lump voters among categories that they have little business being in.

Gallup further confuses the issue by writing of Independents as if party loyalty was a defining factor in one's belief system, which it may or may not be. By the time Gallup is through with all this mumbo jumbo, it is difficult to tell just what is happening, though one may come away with the idea that American voters are growing more "conservative." Let's take a look at some questions Gallup asked to see if we can clarify Gallup's conclusions:

Gallup Poll

What is fascinating about the above list is that it is not "conservative" in any major sense so far as we can understand. Every one of these positions – even the anti-abortion position – asks only for LESS government involvement. If indeed the Conservative movement in America is free-market or Libertarian, why doesn't Gallup simply come out and say so. Instead, so far as we can tell, Gallup will use any amount of euphemisms – Independent, Conservative, etc. – to disguise what is really going on.

Why would Gallup want to use incorrect terms in its surveys? Beats us. We're not mind readers. We only know that what is happening in America is that the Libertarian movement (free-market, anti-big-government) is probably the fastest growing element of the political picture in America – accelerated lately, thanks in large part to Congressman Ron Paul (pictured left). We believe that it is the Internet itself that has created this change, for it is a change, and that from an American standpoint it is a profoundly patriotic one.

Why is it patriotic? Because America's Constitution, which has not been superseded so far as we know, was determinedly anti-big government and meant to encourage modest or limited government. In addition, the American concept was of a limited military primarily engaged in defense of the country itself. The idea of 500-1,000 military bases abroad would have been anathema to many of America's founding fathers.

The Conservative movement itself is characterized by its pro-free market tone and its pro-military perspective, which is conflated by major Conservative spokespeople with patriotism. We would argue that the Conservative free-market stance is in direct conflict with apparent and stated Conservative support for the newly formed and already gigantic US Homeland Security department which is an active proponent of government involvement in every part of citizens' personal lives and of course the US military with its trillion-dollar involvement abroad.

We would argue that the free-market, Libertarian movement – which is growing rapidly in the US – is the main inheritor of the Constitutional mantle of freedom and limited government, a mantle that included a limited military and a limited domestic intelligence apparatus.

After Thoughts

We are constantly surprised by the way that supporters of limited government are characterized as Conservative rather than Libertarian or free-market – or even classical liberal. The classical liberal movement goes back thousands of years and America partakes of that movement and its Constitution is a direct outgrowth of it. Why those in the business of providing information about America's opinions need to create a new term for an ancient political perspective (freedom and limited government) is not something we fully understand – anymore than we understand the insistence on the economics of central banking over the free-market economics of honest money (gold and silver). The political stance growing the fastest in America, and likely in Europe too, is one that is pro-freedom and Libertarian, not Conservative.

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