New Hampshire Libertarians Love Rick Santorum?

Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum isn't a libertarian, but straw-poll voters at a libertarian-leaning New Hampshire barbecue loved him on Sunday.

Santorum announced this morning that he will run for president in 2012, citing solid momentum in early primary states, and his win in The New Hampshire Conservative Future PAC's straw poll at a barbecue in Nashua over the weekend backs up that claim. The group released these results, with 120 attendees voting:

1. Rick Santorum - 36.7%

2. Ron Paul (Tied) - 11.7%

3. Tim Pawlenty (Tied) - 11.7%

4. Mitt Romney - 10.9%

5. Gary Johnson - 10.2%

6. Herman Cain - 7.8%

7. Michele Bachmann - 5.4%

8. Sarah Palin - 2.3%

9. Newt Gingrich (tied) - 1.5%

10. Rudolph Giuliani (tied) - 1.5%

Interestingly enough, the group doesn't see eye to eye with Santorum. Formed in January, it supports the orderly legalization of marijuana and opposes the notion of governmentally approved marriage, instead backing civil unions for both gay and straight couples. Santorum, on the other hand, is a staunch social conservative. He's supported a heterosexual definition of marriage for some time. He smoked pot in college, but, like most social conservatives, he now says it's a bad thing.

Both Santorum and the group oppose abortion rights.

Aside from a libertarian contingent who came to hear a speech by former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, a libertarian who supports marijuana legalization, the crowd at the barbecue generally consisted of mainstream conservatives, according to a spokesman for The New Hampshire Conservative Future PAC. Johnson was the only 2012 Republican presidential candidate to address the crowd.

Since its formation, the group has mainly been gearing up for this event. That promotion, plus Johnson's attendance, may have boosted the votes for Johnson and Ron Paul. Despite the small sample size, it's got to be encouraging for Santorum to win any kind of vote in New Hampshire by 25 percentage points.

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Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.

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