Santorum Trails in New York and... Um, Well, in Pennsylvania

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
April 5 2012 9:13 AM

Santorum Trails in New York and... Um, Well, in Pennsylvania

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Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum speaks to supporters in front of the Blair County Courthouse during a campaign rally on April 4, 2012, in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania. AFP Photo/Paul J. Richards (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

Photo by PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images

On Sunday, when he was asked about a Terry Madonna poll that showed a tighter Pennsylvania primary, Rick Santorum did what Rick Santorum always does.

First off, the Democratic hack that does that, Terry Madonna, has probably singularly gotten more polls wrong than any person I know in the history of the state. There are two other polls that are out this week that have us up 20 and I think the other is 17. This is a pollster who just — I think he just draws numbers out of a hat sometimes.
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It was like he'd accidentally opened the Necronomicon and cursed himself. On April 3, a Quinnipiac poll suggested that Santorum's Keystone State lead had collapsed to just six points, 41-35. On April 4, a PPP poll put Romney in the lead, 42-37. And PPP had been almost exactly right about the result in Wisconsin. By a 2-1 margin, Republicans say Romney's better equipped to beat Obama, and that Santorum can't win the nomination. They like Santorum, who they last voted for in 2006. But they're turning away from him.

And Pennsylvania is the only one of five April 24 states where Santorum has the advantage. (The Delaware Republican electorate looks, largely, like the suburban Philly electorate that's going for Romney. Yes, yes, Christine O'Donnell, I remember. Do we think they'll do that again?) In New York, Quinnipiac finds a 54-21 Romney lead. The margin matters, because New York will give 34 delegates to a candidate that crosses the 50 percent threshold statewide, and 58 more delegates for the winner in every congressional district. Pennsylvania uses an archaic Rube Goldberg system that lets voters elect delegates at the polls. And Santorum hasn't filed delegates in every district.

So there's your public service announcement. If you were already ignoring the GOP primary, I'm sorry for interrupting.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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