Rick rolls in Pennsylvania, and it might even count

    A few weeks back, if I’d told you Rick Santorum had a 29-point lead over Mitt Romney among Pennsylvania Republicans, you’d probably say, “who cares? Pennsylvania’s Republican primary hasn’t mattered to presidential candidates in 30 years.”

    But with the muddle the GOP presidential sweepstakes has become, the April 24th Pennsylvania primary could actually matter.

    And a new Franklin & Marshall college poll shows Santorum leading Romney 45 percent to 16 percent, reflecting Santorum’s national momentum and name recognition in the state he served as a U.S. Senator.

    The poll found New Gingrich with only nine percent, and Ron Paul with seven percent of Republicans. 22 percent were undecided.

    A little known curiosity of the Pennsylvania primary is that none of the state’s 72 delegates to the Republican national convention will be awarded in the presidential balloting. It’s strictly a beauty contest.

    Most of the delegates will be elected in the same primary, competing against others in their Congressional districts, with no presidential affiliations listed on the ballot (see my January post on this subject here).

    The poll also shows Barack Obama leading Santorum and Romney each by eight percentage points in a general election, though the president is in far from safe in the Keystone State.

    47 percent of those surveyed said he deserves re-election, while 49 percent said it’s time for a change. Those numbers are slightly better for Obama than last month’s survey.

    When asked who was to blame for the country’s current economic situation, 22 percent said President Bush. Nine percent said President Obama, and 17 percent said Congress. 45 percent said all are equally to blame.

    The poll also shows voters give Gov. Tom Corbett generally good marks for handling the state’s budget problems.

    Read the entire survey here.

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