The Daily Tar Heel reports that Ron Paul and some of the libertarian ideas he supports have gained popularity among the youth. It's not clear what this means, however:
But Georg Vanberg, a political science professor at UNC, said data showing an increase in young voters’ support for policies promoting either social or economic liberty doesn’t necessarily indicate that they share a cohesive libertarian philosophy.
“It may be that there are more and more people skeptical of extensive government involvement in the economy, and that there is an increase in the number of people who are concerned about government interference with social/personal liberty,” he said. “I’m not convinced that the two groups are the same people.”
But many liberty conferences, such as Students for Liberty and Young Americans for Liberty, have seen increases in membership and participation.
“Students for Liberty had around 500 people attend its international conference one year ago. When I went this year, over 1,000 people came from 35 different countries,” said Alex Lopez, president of UNC College Libertarians.
“We have grown exponentially in the last five years,” he said.
Carla Howell, executive director for the national Libertarian Party, said that they expect an increase in membership as election season gets closer.
It's certainly true that the major parties need to reach out to libertarian voters. I'm not sure if this story demonstrates that these ideas are terribly popular (much as I wish they might be).