Despite the libertarian, small-government rhetoric from conservative candidates and voters, Republican presidential hopefuls aren’t ready to quit energy subsidies just yet.

The declared and potential presidential candidates are all over the map — and by no means fleeing en masse from their traditional support for subsidies.

Mitt Romney still supports ethanol subsidies. So do Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, sort of. And the Republicans still oppose President Barack Obama’s idea of getting rid of subsidies for the oil industry.

The focus on the campaign trail thus far has been on continued federal help for corn-based ethanol — understandable as it remains an important commodity in Iowa, home to the first caucus and official test at the ballot box in the Republican primary.

“It becomes kind of a marker for a broader assessment of somebody’s view of the type of role governments should play,” said Michael Franc, vice president for government studies at the Heritage Foundation. “Every state has its version of ethanol.”

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