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Rick Santorum compares gay marriage to polygamy. Will that help him with GOP?

Rick Santorum, who was speaking to college Republicans in New Hampshire, was loudly booed. While GOP voters have consistently opposed gay marriage, a majority of Americans now disagree.

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Santorum’s biggest problem here, though, might be that Republicans know the former Pennsylvania Senator might not wear well on the entire public. While they respect his cultural warrior credentials, the emphasis Santorum has put on the “warrior” part of this equation in the past has at times made him seem combative and dour.

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At the conservative “RedState” blog, contributor Leon H. Wolf wrote a post on Friday to the effect that while he likes Santorum, the GOP should really, really not nominate him.

“As we have seen during the debates this year, he reacts to people disagreeing with him by immediately moving into angry, sneering, whiny defensiveness,” writes Wolf. “He was tremendously ineffective as a member of the Senate leadership because his personality does not command loyalty or respect.”

Santorum’s perceived electability remains his biggest weakness, writes the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza on his “Fix” blog. He noted that in exit polls, 31 percent of Iowa GOP voters said that the ability to beat President Obama was the most important attribute a Republican nominee could have.

Santorum won only 9 percent of those voters.

“That’s a problem that Santorum needs to find a way to solve – and quickly. You simply cannot win a nomination where the biggest voting concern for people is beating the incumbent if they don’t think you can, well, beat the incumbent,” writes Cillizza.

Santorum, for his part, has been insisting that electability is a hobby horse of reporters, and that picking a real conservative is the most important aspect of GOP voters’ choice.

“Who has the best chance to beat Obama? Rick Santorum,” said an ad Santorum’s campaign ran in Iowa. “A full spectrum conservative, Rick Santorum is rock solid on values issues.”

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