I posted earlier on a Pew poll surveying Americans’ views of the words capitalism and socialism, but there’s something in the poll about their views of libertarianism, too.
Although the overall public’s view is evenly split between favorable and unfavorable, younger, upcoming generations disproportionately favor libertarianism:
The American public remains divided over the word libertarian, with 38% offering a positive reaction, 37% a negative reaction, and 24% offering that they don’t have a reaction either way.
The steepest divide in reactions to the term libertarian are not political but generational. By a 50% to 28% margin, people under age 30 have more positive than negative feelings toward the term libertarian. Views are more split among those age 30-64, while those age 65 and older offer more negative (43%) than positive (25%) reactions.
(I’ll note that within the 30-64 age group, among those 30-49 it’s 41 to 35 favorable. It’s only those over 50 who hold relatively unfavorable views toward libertarianism. Respondents over sixty-five are also the most likely to say that they don’t know or have no preference.)
No surprise here, but rather evidence of libertarianism’s bright future: the trend in so many aspects of American political life is toward greater respect for individual liberty. There have been twists and turns along this path (and there will be yet more) but a continuing trend is both likely and favorable to libertarianism.