PA Polls: Santorum Closes, Swann Lags

A preview of a poll to be released Sunday reports that Senator Rick Santorum has quietly pulled back into contention while NFL legend Lynn Swann still badly trails in his bid for the governorship.

Buoyed by a summer advertising blitz, U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa. has erased Bob Casey’s broad lead in the battle for public opinion, closing to within a handful of points of the Democratic state treasurer, a new Morning Call/Muhlenberg College poll has found. For many months — and as recently as March — The Morning Call/Muhlenberg and Franklin & Marshall’s Keystone Poll showed Casey up by 12 percentage points or more. Santorum started closing the gap in late spring, those polls found. More critically for Santorum, whose views on abortion and other social issues tend to alienate moderate Republican voters, the percentage of voters who say they have a favorable opinion of him is increasing.

The same, however, cannot be said of Republican gubernatorial candidate Lynn Swann. Despite spending the last month on the campaign trail, much of it in Philadelphia and its suburbs, the former football star still trails Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell by a wide margin.

Now, this is just one poll and one whose methodology is not even available (likely voter screen applied?) and I’m very skeptical of Santorum’s chances at holding the seat. Still, it’s interesting how the numbers can belie one’s out-of-state perceptions.

Lynn Swann, certainly, has been the darling of the Republican blogosphere and I just
presumed that he was at least in strong contention, even though Ed Rendell is quite popular. And I had long assumed that Santorum was toast.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Stormy70 says:

    I read somewhere that Santorum runs a really good campaign and his numbers would go up when he hit the campaign trail. I thought the article was full of it, but now I am not so sure. You never know what will bring out the residents of other states. It can be the little local things that count, which are overlooked by outsiders, that get him reelected.

  2. B. Minich, PI says:

    Santorum has ALWAYS been good at the late game. Also, Pennsylvania has never turned out an incumbent governor. Rendell is a Philly politician, and that’s pretty much enough to get you the governorship in PA. I’ve always thought Santorum had a better shot than Swann, and that both were going to have a challege. 😉 But then, I grew up in the state.

  3. McGehee says:

    Maybe Swann will consider trying for Specter’s seat if he loses for Governor.