Is America a ‘Center-Libertarian Nation’?

Los Angeles Times columnist James Rainey writes:

Many debates have broken out about the meaning of last week’s election, including over whether conservatives should still push their claim that America is a “center-right nation.”…

After 32 straight losses for same-sex wedding laws, four states approved marriage-equality proposals last week. Two other states legalized marijuana for recreational purposes….

But Americans appear to remain more receptive to conservative viewpoints on spending, debt and the size of government. A bare majority, 51%, of voters last Tuesday told exit pollsters that government should do less, with 43% saying it should do more….

A more precise verdict would be that the majority of the country remains slightly right of center when it comes to supporting lower spending, decreased debt and smaller government.  But America appears to have shifted left of center in allowing more liberal policies on drugs and the institution of marriage. So, left on social issues and right on economics. If you eliminated the desire to tax the rich, it would sound like we had a center-libertarian nation.

Good points! And of course reminiscent of arguments we’ve made here at Cato, including Brink Lindsey’s “libertarian center” and of course the work David Kirby and I have done on “the libertarian vote,” now available in a convenient ebook.