Reason-Rupe Public Opinion Survey

Millennial Libertarians Are Diverse

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Handsraised

Yesterday, Rachel Burger at Townhall made the case that "Libertarianism isn't confined to Caucasians anymore." Data from both the Pew Research Center and the Reason-Rupe poll bolster her thesis, particularly among younger people.

Pew finds that roughly equal numbers of white (12%) and Hispanic Americans (11%) say the term "libertarian" describes them well and know what the word means. However, considerably fewer African-Americans agree—3 percent self-describe as libertarian. Pew also finds young Americans are slightly more likely than older Americans to say libertarianism describes their political views: for instance 12 percent among 18-29 year olds compared to 9 percent among seniors.

The Reason-Rupe poll examines the largest and most diverse cohort—the millennials—finding corroborative data with Pew. The race/ethnicity of self-identified libertarian millennials reflects the national millennial sample as well as those of progressives.

The question was worded somewhat differently by asking millennials to choose only one ideological label of several. In addition to conventional labels like conservative and liberal, Reason-Rupe found 7 percent of millennials identify as libertarian and another 7 percent as progressive.

Reflecting the national millennial sample, among self-identified libertarian millennials, 56 percent identify as white, 21 percent as Hispanic, 14 percent as African-American, and 8 percent as Asian. These data suggest modern libertarianism among the millennial cohort seems to have broad appeal across racial and ethnic backgrounds.

We found similar results for progressives. Among self-identified progressives, 58 percent identified as white, 15 percent as Hispanic, 15 percent as African-American, and 7 percent as Asian.

While the racial/ethnic composition is similar, there are significant gender differences between libertarian millennials and millennials nationally. Two-thirds of self-identified millennial libertarians are male while 32 percent are female. In contrast, millennial progressives are basically evenly divided with 53 percent being male and 47 percent female.

Interestingly, libertarian millennials are largely non-partisan, and don't lean toward the Republican Party. Even after asking libertarian millennials which way they lean politically, fully 50 percent say they are independent, compared to 15 percent of progressives and 34 percent of all millennials. Twenty-two percent of libertarians identify as Democratic and 28 percent as Republican. In contrast, progressives are solidly Democratic: 78 percent identify as partisan or independent-leaning Democrats. Only 13 percent of progressives say they are Republican. Among all millennials, 43 percent say they are Democratic and 23 percent say they are Republican.

As expected, significant differences in values emerge between libertarians and progressives. Fully 83 percent of libertarian millennials say they prefer a meritocratic society where wealth is distributed according to achievement. However, among progressives a majority—54 percent—instead prefers an egalitarian society where the income gap is small regardless of achievement.

Ideas about meritocracy map onto their preferred economic system. Nearly two-thirds of progressive millennials prefer socialism, but 73 percent of libertarian millennials prefer capitalism to socialism. Not surprisingly, 69 percent of progressives also say government has a responsibility to reduce the income gap, while 61 percent of libertarians say it does not have this responsibility.

It's important to keep in mind that of the total sample of 2000 respondents, seven percent identified as libertarian and 7 percent as progressive, meaning the margin of error is considerably larger for these groups. Nevertheless, given Pew's similar findings among the national adult sample, these data may not be outliers.

The Reason-Rupe 2014 Millennial Survey interviewed 2000 young adults 18-29 with a margin of error +/- 3.4%. Margins of error for ideological groups include: Conservative: 8.2%, Moderate: 6.8%, Liberal: 6.3%, Libertarian: 12.8%, Progressive: 11.3%. YouGov conducted the survey between February 11-March 11. Full poll results, detailed tables, and methodology found here. Sign up for notifications of new releases of the Reason-Rupe poll here.

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  1. Can we update Reasonable to filter out any article that references Millennials?

  2. Ephebiphobiac! 😉

    1. To the Shrubber above. For some reason Reason threaded my sarcasm wrongly.

  3. For all millennials’ remarkable diversity the one thing they have in common is that I am sick to the back teeth of hearing about the fuckers.

    1. The funny thing is, until just recently I thought “millennials” referred to the generation AFTER Gen Y. You know, people born around the turn of the millenium. I couldnt figure out why Reason was polling 14 year olds.

      Calling someone born in the 80s a millennial is stupid.

      1. *Calling someone born in the 80s a millennial is stupid.*

        Not really, since they ‘came of age’ when the calendar flipped to 2001.

        What’s stupid is that Reason thinks any of these people share their world view. Of the whopping 140 or so out of 2000 who described themselves as ‘libertarian’, 1/3 of those dipsticks said they prefer socialism to capitalism. Millenials don’t even know what the hell the words ‘libertarian’ and/or ‘socialism’ even mean.

        1. Also keep that in mind when they throw around the “11% of people know what libertarian means and claim to be one” statistic. Only 2/3 of those libertarians favored legalizing marijuana.

  4. However, considerably fewer African-Americans agree?3 percent self-describe as libertarian.

    I wouldn’t mind seeing an honest assessment of why that is.

    Also, which label is considered more pejorative to people these days? Progressive or libertarian?

  5. Also, which label is considered more pejorative to people these days? Progressive or libertarian?

    Let’s poll the Millenials to find out.

    1. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

      1. DONDEROOOOOOOOOOO….I mean NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

  6. Is this my version of Groundhog Day?

    1. *”I Got You Babe” plays on the radio*

  7. So progressives are whiter than libertarians. According to Tony, that means their ideas are invalid. I eagerly await his renouncing of progressivism.

  8. Also, 23-33% of libertarians in this poll seem to be confused about the definition of libertarian.

    1. I’m at least 23% confused at all times.

    2. Exactly. How can anyone who favors socialism or the government to be responsible for closing the income gap be considered in any way libertarian? Clearly the people being polled have no idea.

      1. Palin’s buttplug has to be exhibit A.

      2. They consider themselves libertarian. Meaning they think drugs should be legal. Well, just pot really.

  9. This is like a Seth MacFarlane bit.

    They stuck with it long enough that now it’s actually funny.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buHv1EvUHj0

    1. I think the rake scene from The Simpson’s is a better example.

      If you do something funny enough, it stops being funny. If you keep it up, it becomes funny again.

  10. And they don’t want socialism, they want fascism and are either too stupid to understand it, or are lying to themselves. The answers to the last two questions are frightening.

    1. I think the real issue is that most people simply don’t understand fascism, because to them it’s an aesthetic concept and not really a political one.

      Fascism is guys dressed up in military uniforms making mean faces at helpless shivering people. That’s it.

      Questions like “How does a fascist state create and sustain itself?” and “What are the sources of a fascist state’s power?” and “How does the fascist state relate to individuals on a day-to-day basis, when mean uniformed people aren’t making mean faces?” and “What does the fascist state do to institutions that might intermediate its relationship to the individual?” are completely outside the scope of what these people think about or find important. If you absolutely duplicated the power structure of fascist Italy, but nobody dressed up in a military uniform or made a mean face, not one progressive douchebag would recognize it as a fascist state. Not ONE.

      1. Great point.

      2. Yes, in the vernacular fascism has become equal to the militaristic and violent part of Nazism, not its underlying economic policies.

      3. If you absolutely duplicated the power structure of fascist Italy, but nobody dressed up in a military uniform or made a mean face, not one progressive douchebag would recognize it as a fascist state. Not ONE.

        Not only would they not recognize it as a fascist state, but they would absolutely love it. Because it would be everything they ever dreamt of.

        1. And less intrusive than the US government today.

      4. Fascism is guys dressed up in military uniforms making mean faces at helpless shivering people. That’s it.

        Yeah, I ran into the same issue a while ago debating the merits of Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism ( http://slashdot.org/comments.p…..d=39624709 ). To back up his assertion that conservatives were the real fascists, the person I was arguing with cited Bush wearing a flight suit when he landed on the USS Lincoln and walked among the crew. Apparently, “fascist” is a matter of fashion sense and body language.

    2. Most of them don’t understand socialism, let alone fascism.

      Socialism: the system where we’re all loving and about community and sharing, man.

      Capitalism: the system that’s run on greed, fear and selfishness.

      That’s literally the depth to which they understand these concepts.

  11. Does the Gov. have a responsibility to reduce the income gap?
    Libertarians: 33%) yes 61%) no

    I think 33% are confused about what Libertarianism is. Or if I give them the benefit of the doubt and they think it means the gov. cutting all forms of welfare, which would probably help.

    1. Same with the 23% of “libertarians” who support socialism. I hope they mean voluntary communes.

  12. Ekins is just trolling us at this point.

  13. #headdesk

  14. I know this is anathema to many of you Peanuts but “libertarian” to many means a smaller, contained government and not anarchy. On dollar terms a 50% scaleback in government would be a libertarian dream come true.

    1. Back to what Bill Clinton spent every year?

  15. the term “libertarian” describes them well and know what the word means

    23% socialism

    Ummm….no.

    1. I guess, technically, they could know what “libertarian” means but dont know what “socialism” means.

  16. For all millennials’ remarkable diversity the one thing they have in common is that I am sick to the back teeth of hearing about the fuckers.

  17. Aren’t millennials like 14 years old, by definition? Do they even have opinions yet?

  18. They’re not divers they are confused! But hey, this is what you get from messed up culture wars between the NEO Confederates’ (a.k.a. Libertarianism) and modern Liberalism (a.k.a. NEO Marxism).

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