You may forever link the neologism created by Dan Savage, “Santorum,” with Rick Santorum, but many — especially those politically active — link Rick Santorum with his forever embarrassing 2006 senate race loss were, after two terms in office, he loss to a Democrat by 18 points, “the largest margin of defeat for an incumbent senator since 1980.” It looks like that may happen again, unless Santorum bows out of the race in less than three weeks. The Pennsylvania primary is April 24, and right now, Mitt Romney is up by five points in Santorum’s home state of Pennsylvania according to at least one poll, which notes Santorum is losing his base of Tea Party and Evangelical voters in the Keystone State.
“Romney has 42% to 37% for Santorum with Ron Paul at 9% and Newt Gingrich at 6%. The numbers represent a dramatic turnaround from when PPP polled the state a month ago. Romney’s gained 17 points, going from 25% to 42%. Meanwhile Santorum’s dropped 6 points from 43% to 37%, for an overall swing of 23 points in the last four weeks,” according to Public Policy Polling:
Only 36% of GOP voters think Santorum has a realistic chance at the nomination to 54% who believe he does not. And when it comes to matching up against Barack Obama in the fall only 24% of Republicans think Santorum would provide their best chance for a victory while 49% think that designation belongs to Romney.
Santorum’s favorability numbers haven’t really changed from a month ago. He was at 64/30 and now he’s at 62/31. But Romney’s seen quite a bit of improvement in his image, perhaps reflecting growing acceptance that he will be the nominee. His favorability has improved a net 16 points from +6 (46/40) to +22 (57/35).
Romney’s made huge in roads with the groups that have tended to fuel Santorum’s success. What was a 37 point lead for Santorum with Evangelicals is now only 10 points at 44-34. What was a 32 point advantage for him with Tea Party voters is now only 6 at 41-35. And in the greatest sign that conservatives are starting to rally around Romney a little bit, what was a 51 point deficit for him with ‘very conservative’ voters is now only 11 points at 44-33.Romney’s leading in Pennsylvania due to strong support from seniors (46-32), men (44-35), ‘somewhat conservative’ voters (50-36), moderates (39-28), and suburban voters (48-31).
Frankly, an Obama-Santorum debate would be extremely gratifying, but the further away from the White House Santorum is, the better America is.
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