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GOP hopeful Mitt Romney’s sup­porters rallied in Michigan on Tuesday, barely giving him the victory over former Penn­syl­vania Sen. Rick San­torum.

Rep. Ron Paul and former Speaker of the House Newt Gin­grich trailed in third and fourth.

Not so at Hillsdale College.

Over 50 percent of the 184 stu­dents polled at Hillsdale College said they sup­ported Ron Paul, while he received less than 12 percent of the vote in Michigan’s primary.

Sophomore Spencer Amaral said he believes that so many stu­dents support Paul because he under­stands and expresses the prin­ciples taught at Hillsdale.

“We should under­stand why he’s the best can­didate and the best statesman,” Amaral said.

“He is the only one we should support now that we know what we know.”

Romney sup­porter sophomore Michael Koziara, however, believes saying Hillsdale stu­dents should support a par­ticular can­didate is “pre­sump­tuous” and that all of the Repub­lican can­di­dates are pro­po­nents of a limited, Con­sti­tu­tional gov­ernment.

“Keep in mind,” Koziara said, “that Hillsdale’s own Dr. Wolfram has voiced support for Gov. Romney because of Mitt’s strong under­standing of free-market eco­nomics and business.”

Some stu­dents are con­cerned that Paul sup­porters will hamper the Repub­lican party. Koziara worries that, if Paul loses the primary, some staunch Paul sup­porters will detract from the support of the GOP pres­i­dential can­didate in the fall.

“I’m fearful of a repeat of history,” Koziara said. “The general election in 2000 was so close that — had liberal votes for third parties like the Green Party gone to Gore as they oth­erwise would [have] — Gore would have won Florida and the pres­i­dency.”

Second to Paul, San­torum received about one-fourth of the support from stu­dents. Sopho- mores Melika Willoughby and Brianna Walden actively support San­torum because of what they con­sider his proven lead­ership with social issues and strong under­standing of eco­nomics.

“I was a San­torum fan back before it was cool,” Walden said with a laugh.

“San­torum is the only can­didate that artic­u­lates prin­cipled beliefs without simply slamming Obama or toeing the party line. He made me sit up and listen,” Willoughby said. “San­torum is able to artic­ulate the political phi­losophy and reasons why behind the policies he pur­ports.”

Walden chalked up Michigan as a victory for San­torum — though Romney tech­ni­cally won — since he received so much of the vote despite Romney’s close ties here.

“It would have been nice if  he had won,” Walden said. “But San­torum was out­spent six to one. It’s amazing he did so well in a state [Romney] grew up in.”

Junior Katy Bachelder dis­agreed because she believes Romney won the media.

“The headline is that Mitt won. The del­egate tech­ni­cality is not as important because San­torum lost the news cycle,” Bachelder said.

In stark con­trast to Romney’s 41 percent of Michigan voters, only nine of the 184 stu­dents expressed support for the former gov­ernor of Mass­a­chu­setts. But student sup­porters Koziara and Bachelder believe that Romney could beat Obama in the general election.

“There is no other can­didate with as much business expe­rience,” Koziara said. “I think he has the ability to turn the economy around with a win in November.”

Bachelder said that Romney’s increasing con­ser­vatism is pos­itive in response to the accu­sation that Romney “flip-flops.”

“When someone comes closer to what I believe, I con­sider it a victory, not some­thing worth assailing,” she said. “That Mitt moved to the right is an asset, not a lia­bility.”

Walden, though, remains uncon­vinced that Romney truly upholds con­ser­v­ative values.

“If we want to elect a can­didate to beat Obama, why would we nom­inate someone like Obama? We should go with someone who has a com­plete con­trast to Obama,” Walden said.

Romney sup­porters expressed concern with Santorum’s attempts to attract Democrats.

“I was con­cerned with San­torum and his last-minute tactics,” Koziara said. “San­torum is trying to run as the ‘true’ con­ser­v­ative, and his move to attract liberal votes may bite him in the long run.”

Bachelder said that Repub­licans should take the Democrats voting for San­torum as warning signs.

“The Democrats that are voting for San­torum demon­strate that they are scared of Romney. The Democrats are trying to get the Repub­lican party to play into the hands of chaos,” Bachelder said. “San­torum sup­porters shouldn’t be thrilled about it.”

Walden con­siders both can­di­dates viable oppo­nents to Obama, though.

Hillsdale stu­dents remained con­sistent with Michigan trends towards Newt Gin­grich. Only four of those polled expressed support for Gin­grich.

Unlike the more political stu­dents on campus, 31 stu­dents responded as either non-political or unde­cided. A few wrote in names, from Gary Johnson to John F. Kennedy to Louis the XIV.

“I’m sup­porting Eliz­abeth II,” junior Richard Norris said.