Romney Catching Up To Santorum In Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania primary is still a month away, but already Rick Santorum’s once seemingly insurmountable lead there may be slipping away:

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.

“I was really rooting for Santorum because he’s from Pennsylvania, but I switched over to Romney because I think he has a better chance of beating Obama and that he’d do a better job of running this country like a business,” said poll participant Rick Bierer, 51, a factory worker from Ford City.

Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, a Green Tree native, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who grew up near Harrisburg, are a distant third and fourth in today’s poll.

Regardless of what happens next week in Wisconsin, Santorum is likely to stay in the race until at least Pennsylvania. If he loses Pennsylvania, though, then one has to begin to wonder why he’s continuing with an enterprise that is clearly doomed.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, Quick Takes, US Politics, , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. legion says:

    “…I switched over to Romney because I think he has a better chance of beating Obama and that he’d do a better job of running this country like a business,” said poll participant Rick Bierer, 51, a factory worker from Ford City.

    It’s been said before, but I’ll say it again… There are two type of Republicans: millionaires and suckers.

  2. PJ says:

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

    What kind of ads are Romney and his SuperPAC running in Pennsylvania?

  3. Fiona says:

    Well, it’s not like Santorum hasn’t lost big in Pennsylvania before. The locals are likely now remembering why they turned him out of the Senate.

  4. @PJ:

    I think the big media money is in Wisconsin at the moment. PA isn’t till the end of the April

  5. legion says:

    The poll was only 505 people… is there a good estimate on how many people are actually likely to vote in the primary in PA? That seems like an awfully small sample, even with a 4%+ MOE.

  6. Tsar Nicholas II says:

    Isn’t this sort of like worrying about whether the team that loses the Super Bowl had more rushing yards than the winning squad?

  7. Fiona says:

    What kind of ads are Romney and his SuperPAC running in Pennsylvania?

    I live in the Philly area and I’ve yet to see either a Romney or a Santorum ad. Thank goodness!