Twitter

Rick Santorum Slips In Pennsylvania Polling


[credit: Billy Weeks/Reuters]
Is Rick Santorum in trouble in his 'home state' of Pennsylvania?
Rick Santorum appeared to be the Republican presidential candidate to beat in Pennsylvania a month ago.

With the state primary four weeks away, Santorum now finds himself nearly tied with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney among the state's Republicans, and support is eroding rapidly, according to a Franklin & Marshall College poll out today.

"The real Rick Santorum has emerged," said G. Terry Madonna, director of the Franklin & Marshall College Poll.

"Santorum ran a disciplined campaign for eight months, but a month ago he began veering off message into all these cultural and social issues," Madonna said, referring to flare-ups over women in combat and contraceptives. "That may help with his core voters, but they're already with him. This is supposed to be about expanding your base."

The poll of 505 registered Republican voters, conducted March 20-25 in conjunction with the Tribune-Review and other media outlets, shows Santorum clinging to a small lead over Romney, 30 percent to 28 percent, within the poll's 4.2 percent margin of error.

That's a big change from February, when Santorum, once a U.S. senator from Penn Hills, held a commanding 15-percentage-point lead over Romney in the poll.

[snip]

The poll shows a worsening public opinion of Santorum. His favorability rating of 54 percent is down from 65 percent a month ago, although that remains higher than the 46 percent rating for Romney, the national front-runner.

"It's going to be pretty tough for (Santorum) to reverse this, especially given Romney's delegate lead," Madonna said. Romney has support from 569 delegates, more than twice as many as Santorum's 262. The GOP nominee needs 1,144 delegates.

Many votes remain up for grabs. Almost a quarter of Pennsylvania Republicans -- 24 percent -- don't know who they're voting for in the April 24 primary, up slightly from a month ago, the poll said.
My emphasis.

Two thoughts:

1) Terry Madonna says, "Santorum rana disciplined campaign for eight months". REALLY?!?! Sure, he pulled off an early psuedo-win in Iowa (it wasn't really a 'win' until after New Hampshire was done). However, I would NOT classify the first eight months of campaigning as "disciplined". If that was disciplined (see: the Napkin Defense), I would really hate to see what UNdisciplined looks like...

2) But more seriously, are people actually surprised by this "revelation" that Santorum is starting to poll poorly in Pennsylvania (how's that for some alliteration for you)? Remember folks, Santorum lost his 2006 U.S. Senate re-election bid by 17 points. In Pennsylvania. While there were other factors involved (that election was very anti-Bush/Republican), this was right around the 'man-on-dog' era in the Santorum lexicon.

Pennsylvania is not a solidly red-meat state. My guess is that, IF Santorum does win the Keystone State, it will be by a razor-thin margin. However, I think that Romney has a much better shot of winning here.