“Libertarianism has been touted as the wave of America’s political future for many years, generally with more enthusiasm than evidence. But there are some tangible signs that Americans’ attitudes are in fact moving in that direction,” writes The New YorkTimes’ Nate Silver.
Silver is a highly respected statistician and political analyst.
Since 1993, CNN has conducted an annual poll of Americans’ political views asking two questions: “Some people think the government is trying to do too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses. Others think that government should do more to solve our country’s problems. Which comes closer to your own view?” and “Some people think the government should promote traditional values in our society. Others think the government should not favor any particular set of values. Which comes closer to your own view?”
This year CNN finds 63 percent of respondents agree “government is trying to do too many things.” That figure is an increase from the 61 percent who agreed in in 2010 and the 52 percent who agreed in 2008.
50 percent agree “government should not favor any particular set of values.” That figure is an increase from the 44 percent who agreed in 2010 and 41 percent in 2008.
“It was the first time that answer won a plurality in CNN’s poll,” Silver reports.
“(T)here have been visible shifts in public opinion on a number of issues, ranging from increasing tolerance for same-sex marriage and marijuana legalization on the one hand, to the skepticism over stimulus packages and the health-care overhaul on the other hand, that can be interpreted as a move toward more libertarian views,” Silver reports.