Republicans in record numbers moving toward the ideals and principles of libertarianism, according to a new poll by released by the grassroots group FreedomWorks.
The survey of all registered voters, which was conducted last month, found that a full 78 percent of Republican and GOP-leaning voters self-identify as being fiscally conservative and socially moderate
The results of the survey were first shared with POLITICO.
The poll found that its Republican and independent-leaning respondents aren’t suddenly advocating legalized marijuana and instructing people to read “The Fountainhead.” Rather, as POLITICO’s James Hohman notes, many self-identified Republicans are simply falling in line with traditional libertarian views on limited government.
This comes after years of GOP domination by “defense hawks” and “social conservatives.”
Now, according to the FreedomWorks report, the GOP is starting to back away from social conservatism and hawkishness and lean toward libertarianism.
Asked what concerns them the most, 40 percent of survey respondents said “individual freedom through lower taxes and reducing the size and scope of government,” 27 percent said “traditional values,” and 18 percent said “strong national defense.”
Kellyanne Conway, who ran the poll, said they are seeing a massive increase in the number of respondents who think the government has grown too large and has become too expensive to maintain.
“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.”
Additionally, two-thirds of Republican and GOP-leaning respondents said they want Congressional representatives to “keep their promises and stick to principles” as opposed to “compromise in a bipartisan way to get things done.”
“From Obamacare on down, sticking to principle is where the Republican base is today,” David Kirby, vice president of opinion research at FreedomWorks, said in a POLITCO report. “It’s an example of how off the Republican establishment is from their base.”
Other findings in the report include:
- Forty-one percent of GOP respondents said gay marriage is not on their top 10 list of priority issues.
- Roughly one-third of GOP respondents said abortion is one of the top three issues they care about, another third said it was in their top 10, and another third said it wasn’t an issue for them.
- Twenty-five percent of GOP respondents self-identified as “libertarian” or “lean libertarian.”
- Forty-two percent of GOP respondents view the term “libertarian” favorably.
- Ten percent of GOP respondents were unfamiliar with term “libertarian.”
- Roughly 27 percent of total survey respondents said they weren’t familiar enough with term “libertarian” to have an opinion on the issue.
- Approximately 40 percent of respondents aged 18-32 years view the term “libertarian” favorably.
- One-third of respondents aged 18-32 said they were unfamiliar with the term “libertarian.”
- Fifty-two percent of total survey respondents said the government should not enforce or promote a particular moral code/set of values.
- Forty percent, on the other hand, said the government should promote a particular set of values.
- Only 17 percent of total survey respondents said they believe life will be better under Obamacare (this includes just one-third of polled Democrats).
- Forty-nine percent of total respondents oppose Obamacare.
The survey, according to Kirby, bodes well for libertarian-leaning Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and Rand Paul (R-Ky).
And as far as the 2014 midterm elections are concerned, 55 percent of GOP survey respondents said they are more likely to vote for someone who has “stronger principles” and 34 percent said they would rather choose “a candidate who has more political experience and party leaders say is more likely to win.”
Conway said these results “astonished” her.
“You’d think Republican voters, more than anybody, would want to win, but they’ve been down that road of ‘electability’ before,” she said, referring to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Sen. Bob Dole.
“Voters aren’t asking themselves who can win. They’re asking who can lead … Republican voters in particular are fatigued with this false promise of electability,” she added.
Lastly, the survey found that pessimism and cynicism towards political parties remains high (especially with younger voters).
Still, three-quarters of respondents aged 18 -32 said they believe economic conditions can be corrected by federal policy.
Nevertheless, and despite this apparent faith in the power of government, Conway claims neither party has a claim to the youth vote.
“There’s no realignment to progressivism,” she said.
Here’s the full FreedomWorks report:
Click here to see the full FreedomWorks poll.
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Featured image Getty Images. This post has been updated.