According to a newly developed Libertarian Orientation Scale, less than 1-in-10 (7%) Americans are consistent libertarians, and an additional 15% lean libertarian. At the other end of the spectrum, an equal number of Americans are consistent communalists (7%), and an additional 17% lean communalist. A majority (54%) of Americans have a mixed ideological profile, falling in between libertarian and communalist orientations.

Compared to the general population, libertarians are significantly more likely to be non-Hispanic white, male, and young. Nearly all libertarians are non-Hispanic whites (94%), more than two-thirds (68%) are men, and more than 6-in-10 (62%) are under the age of 50.

The party affiliation of libertarians skews significantly more Republican than Democratic. Close to half (45%) of libertarians identify as Republican, compared to only 5% who identify as Democrat. However, half of libertarians identify as politically independent (35%) or identify with a third political party (15%), including roughly 1-in-10 (8%) who identify with the Libertarian Party. Roughly 4-in-10 (39%) libertarians identify as part of the Tea Party movement, while 61% do not.

Libertarians make up a smaller proportion of the Republican Party than other key conservative groups. Only 12% of self-identified Republicans are libertarians, compared to 20% of Republicans who identify […]

Read the Full Article