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Fred Karger takes New Hampshire 2012 Republican straw poll

Long-shot 2012 Republican presidential candidate Fred Karger beat former Massachusettes Gov. Mitt Romney in a New Hampshire straw poll Thursday, with both Karger and Romney finishing far a head of any other potential candidates.

Karger placed first in the St. Anselm College Republican Straw Poll in Manchester, New Hampshire with 79 votes out of a total 322 ballots. Romney was close behind with 74 votes, while Donald Trump came in a distant third with 26 votes, just edging out former Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-Minn.) and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas). The poll was of students, faculty and staff of St. Anslem.

“We campaigned at St. A’s all week, which is exactly what I have been doing since I began this effort in New Hampshire back in February 2010,” Karger said in a statement. “My message of inclusion in the Republican Party and reaching out to younger people is working, and I will continue to be the one candidate who works to grow the Republican Party by campaigning right on college campuses.”

Karger is the only officially declared presidential candidate, but has been kept away from some of the large GOP gatherings of potential 2012 hopefuls organized by Iowa social conservatives.

The poll also found respondents to be one-third “moderate,” one-third “conservative,” and a vast majority with an unfavorable opinion toward President Barack Obama.

It also noted “Jobs and the Economy” was by far the most important issue among those polled. “Social issues” was a top priority for only 15 people.

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