New Hampshire Voters Just Now Learn What Rick Santorum Thinks About Gay Marriage

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Jan. 7 2012 11:19 AM

New Hampshire Voters Just Now Learn What Rick Santorum Thinks About Gay Marriage

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MANCHESTER, NH - JANUARY 07: Republican presidential candidate, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum speaks during 'The Economy and The Electorate' forum, hosted by National Journal and Atlantic Monthly, January 7, 2012 at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire. Santorum continued to campaign in New Hampshire for the upcoming primary election. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

CONCORD, N.H. -- The new Suffolk University tracking poll in New Hampshire is the first to show any Rick Santorum slippage at all.

Mitt Romney - 39% (-1)
Ron Paul - 17% (+0)
Newt Gingrich - 10% (+1)
Rick Santorum - 9% (-2)
Jon Huntsman - 9% (+1)
Rick Perry - 1% (+0)
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The pollster explains:

Santorum came under scrutiny at a campaign stop in Concord, N.H. earlier this week when he compared gay marriage to polygamy and admitted he did not know his medical marijuana laws very well. He was jeered for those answers by a predominately student audience. Overnight, his support dropped from 6 percent to 3 percent among undeclared (Independents) and also dropped from 9 percent to 2 percent among voters ages 18-34 years.

This was always a risk. In the 2008 GOP primary, with relatively little independent crossover voting, around 40 percent of Republicans said they supported civil unions and were pro-chocie. The electorate's bound to be more liberal this time, and gay marriage acceptance has surged. But I feel like the debate resets all of this, by giving Newt Gingrich his first chance in 24 days to show off his brain size, and giving Santorum, generally ignored for months, an introduction to the searching not-Romney voter.

State Sen. Andy Sanborn, Ron Paul's co-chair in the state, confidently explained why Santorum wouldn't overtake his candidate. "This is the second least religious state in the country," he said. "Santorum's message won't take off."

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.