Pennsylvania slipping away from Santorum?

posted at 8:40 am on March 28, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

April will be a tough month for Rick Santorum.  The primary schedule has nine contests next month — three on Tuesday, a non-binding caucus in Missouri (again!), and five primaries on the 24th.  The two most likely states for a Santorum win are winner-take-all Wisconsin on the 3rd and the candidate’s home state of Pennsylvania on the 24th.  Santorum trails in the latest Wisconsin polling, and a new poll by Frank & Marshall College suggests that his support back home has declined significantly:

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 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.

This survey samples registered Republicans rather than likely voters, but since Pennsylvania has a closed direct election of delegates, only Republicans were surveyed.  The sample of 505 Republicans is significant enough to matter, although it will be interesting to see how well this aligns with other polls using larger samples of likely voters — say, Rasmussen or Survey USA.

What happened in the last month?  FMC reports that the importance of beating Obama has jumped ten points to 25% as the highest priority for voters.  Strong moral character still leads, but only barely at 26%, down from 36% in February.  The other two categories are “true conservative” (16%) and “the right experience” (21%).  That presents a muddy picture, and without crosstabs it’s difficult to see how this priorities played into voter choices.

On the surface, it makes it look as though voters won’t have much reason to choose between the two front-runners.  Santorum still gets higher favorables (54/26) than Romney (46/25), but that may change when Romney starts focusing on Pennsylvania after next Tuesday.  The other states holding primaries on the 24th are New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Delaware — all states that Romney should win easily.  Romney can afford to try a knockout blow in the Keystone State in the three weeks open to him.

If Santorum can’t carry Pennsylvania, the race will be over.  Team Santorum had better hope this is an outlier.


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And I apologized in the post right afterward, so thanks for verifying that I’m wasting my time.

Gunlock Bill on March 28, 2012 at 5:01 PM

I think we are all caught up now. ;o)

Lightswitch on March 28, 2012 at 5:11 PM

Words mean something, Buttercup. He specifically said he would be talking about it. I think that’s a stupid thing to say, but it’s talk, not a promise to legislate.

Lightswitch on March 28, 2012 at 5:10 PM

Why talk about it if he isn’t going to do something about it?

Just going to bloviate his time away?

Gunlock Bill on March 28, 2012 at 5:35 PM

Pennsylvania, WISE UP!?! RINO Ronmey (alias “Plasticman” aka Obama-Lite) has distorted the living cr@p out of your favorite Son’s record, which Willard (from the RAT movie of the same name) started doing right after he LIED, LIED, LIED about Gingrich ALL over Florida and iowa before that!?! What’s more, the RepublicRAT establishment was COMPLICIT in that onslaught of LIES!?! Pennsylvania, make up YOUR OWN minds and STAY with your Favorite Son!?! Do you really want to replace the J@ck@ss LIAR-in-Chief with the (R) version?????

Colatteral Damage on March 28, 2012 at 5:53 PM

Rick Santorum lost his bid for reelection to the U.S. Senate from his home state by 18 points. Don’t count on Pennsylvania being a lock for Santorum.

Dr Evil on March 28, 2012 at 8:50 AM

Mitt would have lost re-elction as governor to Deval patrick.

Besides, think people in PA are happy they voted for someone who voted for Obamacare??? I say they got what they wanted.

b1jetmech on March 28, 2012 at 6:06 PM

Mittens is outspending Santorum 50 to 1 in some locations in Wisconsin…claiming Mitt is more conservative then Santorum.

b1jetmech on March 28, 2012 at 6:08 PM

Romney IS more conservative than Santorum in the political sense.

crosspatch on March 28, 2012 at 6:13 PM

Mittens is outspending Santorum 50 to 1 in some locations in Wisconsin…

b1jetmech on March 28, 2012 at 6:08 PM

WOW!!!!

So Romney made a buy in some locations that Santorum did not.

Oh, the horror!

Gunlock Bill on March 28, 2012 at 6:26 PM

Mittens is outspending Santorum 50 to 1 in some locations in Wisconsin…claiming Mitt is more conservative then Santorum.

b1jetmech on March 28, 2012 at 6:08 PM

So Ocommie would be 250 to 1 against Sadtorum. What’s the point ?

FlaMurph on March 28, 2012 at 6:44 PM

Romney is spending, and we learned in Iowa, that the locals like that! They wanted Romney to come back and spend some more.

Fleuries on March 28, 2012 at 8:00 PM

Words mean something, Buttercup. He specifically said he would be talking about it. I think that’s a stupid thing to say, but it’s talk, not a promise to legislate.

Lightswitch on March 28, 2012 at 5:10 PM

Exactly!

He also said he didn’t believe contraception should be outlawed.

He also never, ever, EVER said he would outlaw porn, yet the Mittwits keep repeating that canard.

When you have to tell lies based on your own assumptions to discredit your opponents, while at the same time time you whitewash your own candidate’s record, it makes you look desperate, Mittwits.

JannyMae on March 28, 2012 at 8:08 PM

You are cordially invited to the inauguration of
U.S. President-elect Willard Mitt Romney
and Vice President-elect Marco Antonio Rubio
on Sunday, January 20th, 2013 11:30 a.m.
Washington, D.C.
GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!

BabysCatz on March 28, 2012 at 11:59 PM

Words mean something, Buttercup. He specifically said he would be talking about it. I think that’s a stupid thing to say, but it’s talk, not a promise to legislate.

Lightswitch on March 28, 2012 at 5:10 PM

Oh good grief how ridiculous. He was just “talking” because that’s what people do during interviews and speaking engagements they “talk”. And when you’re running for office on a speaking tour people assume the issues you’re talking about are consistent with your political idealogy. What did you expect a magic show? For his next trick he’s going to make his political career disappear.
It’s so sweet of Jammiemae to make pretend she’s as dense as you but don’t inflate your ego, she defends anyone who has Romney Derangement Syndrome.

Buttercup on March 29, 2012 at 2:52 PM

You are cordially invited to the inauguration of
U.S. President-elect Willard Mitt Romney
and Vice President-elect Marco Antonio Rubio
on Sunday, January 20th, 2013 11:30 a.m.
Washington, D.C.
GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!

BabysCatz on March 28, 2012 at 11:59 PM

Why thank you! I’ll be there!

Buttercup on March 29, 2012 at 2:53 PM

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