Thursday, July 3, 2008

Rise of the Liberaltarians

I'm not going to rehash all of my arguments about why a liberal-libertarian coalition is inevitable (DISCLAIMER: for purposes of this argument, the word "libertarian" is relatively broadly defined based on the definitions used in David Boaz's 2006 report on the libertarian vote), but this latest poll from Montana suggests that such a coalition is further along than I ever expected (I have argued that the Dem Party is not quite ready to accomodate libertarians).

To summarize: Montana is currently leaning to Obama over McCain by five points. That a Republican Presidential candidate is trailing in Montana (a state Bush won by 20 points in 2004) is a particularly strong indication of how alienated libertarian-ish voters now feel from the Republican Party. As Dave Weigel writes at Hit & Run:

This is a state that elected a Democratic senator in 2006 who told voters "I want to repeal the PATRIOT Act." This is a state whose governor gave Homeland Security Michael Chertoff a rhetorical kick in the teeth when he opted out of REAL ID. This is, finally, a state whose Republicans gave Ron Paul a quarter of their primary and caucus votes, and where the balance of power in the state House is held by the Constitution Party.

I think it's safe to say that Montana voters have stronger libertarian leanings than just about any other state.

It may be that Montana's libertarian-ish voters are more Dem-friendly because they have a relatively libertarian Dem governor who is extremely popular. But I frankly don't know enough about Gov. Schweitzer to say that he's more libertarian than the average Dem - I just know that he's really popular.

More at memeorandum.