Santorum Edges Romney in Pennsylvania Poll

Santorum Edges Romney in Pennsylvania Poll

By Caitlin Huey-Burns - April 3, 2012

With three weeks to go until the Pennsylvania primary, Keystone State native Rick Santorum holds a six-point edge over former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a new Quinnipiac University poll shows.

The former Pennsylvania senator attracts 41 percent of the support from likely GOP primary voters, while Romney garners 35 percent. Texas Rep. Ron Paul receives 10 percent and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich gets 7 percent. The race, though, is still fluid: 37 percent say they could change their minds before heading to the polls on April 24.

With Romney poised for victory in Tuesday's primaries in Wisconsin, Maryland and Washington, D.C., Santorum's ongoing candidacy could hinge on a win in his home state.

Santorum leads among men, 43 percent to 33 percent. But notably, women are split between the two candidates: 39 percent back Santorum while 38 percent support Romney. Santorum leads among white Evangelicals by 29 points, among Tea Party supporters by 18 points, and among those who identify as conservatives by 18 points. Romney leads among moderates by 16 points.

The former senator polls well among most income groups, especially working-class voters: He leads by seven points among those who make less than $30,000 a year, by 18 points among those who bring in between $30,000 and $50,000 annually, and by 12 points among those who make between $50,000 and $100,000 each year. Romney leads by five points among those whose annual income exceeds $100,000.

Both candidates attract positive favorability ratings: Santorum receives a positive net of 40 percent while Romney gets a positive net of 37 percent. With Romney leading in the delegate count and pushing the narrative that he is the presumptive nominee, the poll questioned whether the GOP would be better served if Santorum dropped out of the race: 57 percent say he should stay in while 33 percent say it would be better for the party if he left the contest.

Quinnipiac surveyed 647 likely Republican primary voters from March 27-April 1. The sampling error is plus or minus 3.9 percentage points. 

Caitlin Huey-Burns is a congressional reporter for RealClearPolitics. She can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @CHueyBurnsRCP.

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