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More trouble for Rick Santorum in Pennsylvania

April 03, 2012|By Colby Itkowitz | Allentown Morning Call
  • Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum speaks at a campaign rally at Sabre Lanes bowling alley in Menasha, Wis.
Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum speaks at a campaign… (Scott Olson / Getty Images )

Reporting from Washington — The second poll in a week shows Mitt Romney cutting deep into Rick Santorum's lead in his home state, Pennsylvania.

Romney now trails Santorum by just six points in the state with 35% to Santorum's 41%, according to a Quinnipiac University survey released Tuesday. It's a devastating shift for Santorum who on March 14 in the same poll was besting Romney 36% to 22%. The poll comes on the heels of a Franklin & Marshall College survey that found Romney behind by just two points.

This week, Santorum acknowledged that Pennsylvania is a “must win” for his presidential campaign. A loss in Pennsylvania, for the second time in his political career, would not only be fatal politically but would be humiliating to lose on his home turf.

And Santorum is obviously sensitive to it. He personally attacked veteran F&M pollster G. Terry Madonna by name on national television on Sunday, calling him a "Democratic hack" who "draws numbers out of a hat." Madonna has since noted that Santorum had no problem with him when he was predicting, accurately, Santorum wins in 1994 and 2000.

Santorum, whose campaign has seemed like something out of a science fiction novel to the Pennsylvanians who voted him out of the U.S. Senate six years ago, is kicking off his return to the state in the aptly named town of Mars, a small town north of Pittsburgh “right up the road” from where he grew up, the campaign said. From there, Santorum will take his campaign across the Keystone State, reintroducing himself to voters he represented for 16 years in Washington.

Santorum held a campaign event in Gettysburg two weeks ago and then spoke to conservatives in Harrisburg a few days later, but this week marks the true start of his concentrated effort in Pennsylvania.

On Fox News on Monday morning, Santorum said he could "absolutely" guarantee a win in Pennsylvania.

“It’s a tough state,” he said. “There’s a large moderate wing of the party, particularly in the southeastern part of the state. We’ve upset the apple cart there in Pennsylvania; we were really the first Republican to break that stranglehold of the Republican Party, and we actually were part of the movement to change the Republican Party in Pennsylvania to a much more conservative party, and we’ve been successful winning elections doing that, but it’s not going to be easy.”

@DCMorningCall

Original source: More trouble for Rick Santorum in Pennsylvania

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