Poll: Santorum Drops 15 Points in PA Primary

A poll released this morning by Franklin & Marshall indicates that winning the Republican primary in Pennsylvania is not a given for Rick Santorum. Mitt Romney has gained on the former Pa. Senator by a net 27 points (Santorum 30, Romney 28 in March; Santorum 45, Romney 16 in February).

Ron Paul takes 9 percent, Newt Gingrich 6 percent to round out the poll.

The full poll results can be viewed here (PDF).

Why the sudden drop? The pollsters explain:

“Rick Santorum’s victories in three primaries in early February helped propel his candidacy nationally and that momentum spilled over to Pennsylvania where he led his closest rival, Mitt Romney, by a large margin.  Since February, the senator’s electoral fortunes have been less favorable and he is currently trailing Mitt Romney by nearly ten points in national polls.  Senator Santorum’s fortune has followed a similar trajectory in Pennsylvania.”

Romney’s main strength is his perceived electability and experience; he leads Santorum in those categories 38 to 17 percent and 35 to 7 percent in those categories, respectively.

Santorum’s support comes from a base of Pennsylvanians who view him as having more moral character, and being the true conservative: 38 to 10 percent for character, 28 to 6 percent on the question of conservatism.

Just 25 percent of poll respondents live in the southeastern part of the state, Romney’s ideological base.

The survey was conducted using live interviews from 505 registered Pa. Republicans from March 20-25, 2012. The sample error for this survey is +/- 4.2 percentage points.

March 28th, 2012 | Posted in Front Page Stories, Poll, Presidential, Top Stories | No Comments