Last week, the Pierre Capital Journal ran an article by Phil Torres headlined “Libertarian Party Gains Momentum Amongst SD Voters“. The article provided no evidence beyond the assertion of a party functionary that the Libertarian Party has any momentum among South Dakota voters:
Nicholas Machuca, East River coordinator for the Libertarian Party of South Dakota, thinks the two party system has painted them into a corner.
As a result, younger people are turning away from the Republican and Democratic Parties, with many opting to join the Libertarian Party.
“A lot of them don’t fit into any category for either of those, most are independents. So they have this need to find another spot and Libertarianism is where a lot of them end up falling in,” Machuca said.
Libertarians tend to rely heavily on word of mouth over active recruitment efforts, Machuca explained [Phil Torres, “Libertarian Party Gains Momentum Amongst SD Voters,” Pierre Capital Journal, 2023.02.28].
The article then non-sequiturially cites the plutocratic Americans for Prosperity as evidence that the Libertarian Party is critical of the Biden Administration:
On the national front, the party is critical of the current administration’s economic policies.
That’s according to the Americans for Prosperity, an advocacy group with libertarian and conservative leaning principles.
Americans for Prosperity President Emily Seidel stated in a press release a criticism of the Biden Administration [Torres, 2023.03.01].
Um, AFP is not a part of the Libertarian Party. It doesn’t pour money into Libertarian campaigns. AFP’s focus is on Republican candidates.
But hey, let’s help out the Pierre Capital Journal and provide the empirical data they should have reported to support their headline:
According to the Secretary of State’s latest tally of registered voters, as of March 1, 2,894 South Dakotans are registered Libertarians. That’s an increase of 10.16% over the past year. No other party posted double-digit percentage growth in its ranks over the past 12 months: Since March 2022, Republican registrations grew 6.79%, independent registrations grew 4.92%, and Democratic registrations fell 0.57%. The number of registered voters of all affiliations in South Dakota grew 4.40% over the last 12 months.
The Libertarians’ 54.68% growth rate over the last four years is more than triple the 16.09% growth of the SDGOP, more than quadruple the growth of South Dakota independents, and far superior to the 4.80% decline in Democratic ranks. Over the past four years, the voter rolls have grown just 9.71%.
In four years, the Libertarians have increased their share of South Dakota’s electorate from 0.34% to 0.48%. At that rate of growth, by 2038, Libertarians will constitute 1% of South Dakota’s electorate.
That’s the momentum the Pierre Capital Journal meant to quantify. You’re welcome.
Related Voter Counting:
- Republican registrations exceeded 300,000 for the first time at the beginning of this month—300,036 to be exact.
- Democrats still lead independents in registration, but the margin has dwindled to 0.66 percentage points, with 151,320 Democrats versus 147,337 registered independents.
- Since November 1, registered Republicans have outnumbered Democrats and independents combined. Only the Libertarians have prevented the Republicans from claiming a majority of the voter rolls.