A new CNN Poll charts a steady rise in Libertarian views amongst Americans between 1992 to 2011. Conducted nationwide with 1,015 adult respondents by Opinion Research Corporation the first week of June, the numbers indicate a major shift in economic and political thinking in the United States. Oddly enough, among potential 2012 presidential candidates, Sarah Palin and even Mitt Romney still beat out the icon of the Libertarian movement, Congressman Ron Paul. The big winner, however, is former New York mayor, Rudy Giuliani, walking away with a 55% favorable. But perhaps the most interesting number is that 63% of Americans think the government is doing too much, up from 61% this time last year, and only 52% in 2008.
Not since 1995 has the response to the question of how much the government should be doing topped 60%. Throughout most of the 1990s, the number hovered in the mid-40% through mid-50% range. Between 1994 through 1998, the average went into the upper-50% range, hitting 60% during one period in December,1995. After the attacks on 9/11, the number dropped to just 41%, but quickly returned to the low-to mid 50% range again from 2002 onwards. On social issues, when asked if the government should promote any set of particular values, the polling data shows a drop from 57% in 2008 to only 46% today.
On individual candidates, including some not yet running, a sampling of 445 Republicans were asked a series of questions, such as who reminds you most of Ronald Reagan? Who is qualified to be president? Who represents values similar to your own? Who is not a typical politician? Who do you general agree with on issues. And who is a strong, decisive leader? In every category, either Sarah Palin or Rudy Giuliani topped the list, usually with the other taking second place. Palin scored best in sharing same values, 79%, not being a typical politician, 70% and generally agreeing on issues, a whopping 80%. Giuliani topped the list on the topics of most qualified, 77%, and being a strong leader, 85%. Mitt Romney only won one category, best able to defeat Obama in 2012, with 65%. That could be important, as most Republicans, 75%, said the main consideration for selecting a candidate during the primaries would be the ability to defeat Obama. Only 24% were focused on issues for their choice.
The new CNN poll indicates a strong leaning towards Libertarian principles, the highest since they began tracking in 1992. Some 63% think the government is doing too much, up from 61% last year and 52% in 2008. The norm throughout most of the last 19 years has been in the mid-40% to mid-50% range, with the lowest following the 9/11 attacks in 2001 at just 41%. Clearly, in the past three years since Obama and his big spending ways began, Americans have had enough of big government and most Republicans polled are more interested in a candidate that can actually defeat Obama than one they agree with ideologically. The strongest two in this respect being Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani.