The Quinnipiac Blues
A downer day for U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum.
A new poll from the Connecticut university with the unpronouncable name puts him 13 points behind Bob Casey. In April, the same poll had him 11 points behind.
The Quinnipiac (pro: KWIN uh-pee-ack) University survey of 1,487 Pennsylvania voters was in the field from May 2-8. It has a margin of error of +/- 2.5 percentage points. You can see the complete poll here.
The Quinnipiac pollsters say that Santorum is "struggling in the doldrums."
It think it is worse than that. He actually is sinking.
Let's ignore the horserace and look at some of the underlying numbers:
Santorum's job approval rating has ticked down seven points since December.
It was 48% approve vs. 38% disapprove last winter.
It was 41% approve vs. 44% disapprove in the latest poll.
President Bush's numbers in the state are worse.
It was 38% approve vs. 59% disapprove in December.
It was 30% approve vs. 66% disapprove in the latest poll.
Bush's and Santorum's numbers obviously are linked, and both are being tugged down by growing unhappiness among voters over the Iraq war.
Asked if they approved or disapproved of the way the President was handling Iraq:
It was 37% approve vs. 60% disapprove in mid-February.
It was 27% approve vs. 67% disapprove in the latest poll.
The one thing that surprises me about Santorum's numbers, in this and other polls, is how poorly he does in his home area in a head-to-head with Casey. (A caution: the plus and minus on these regional breakdowns is much larger because the sample size is smaller.)
But, in the latest Quinnipiac, it is:
Casey 56% vs. Santorum 34% in Allegheny.
Casey 49% vs. Santorum 39% in the Southwest.
My personal theory is the brouhaha over Santorum having his Penn Hills, Pa. school district pay close to $100,000 for his children's cyber-homeschooling in Leesburg, Va. has cost him heavily out west.