William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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RICK'S END? – AT 8:35 A.M. ET:  It's only one poll, and one often considered a "Democratic" poll, but a new survey shows Mitt Romney taking the lead in Rick Santorum's home state of Pennsylvania.   From The Hill:

Mitt Romney has overtaken Rick Santorum in Pennsylvania, and nearly wiped out the former two-term senator’s advantage among key voting blocs within the Republican Party’s conservative base, a new poll finds.

Romney leads with 42 percent support in the state, followed by Santorum at 37 percent, Ron Paul at 9 percent, and Newt Gingrich at 6 percent, according to a survey from Public Policy Polling released on Thursday.

In the same poll taken one month ago, Santorum led Romney 43 percent to 25 percent.
Romney logged massive gains among demographic groups that have been a stronghold for Santorum throughout the primary season – evangelicals, Tea Party supporters, and those voters that describe themselves as “very conservative.”

Santorum once held seemingly insurmountable leads with these groups in Pennsylvania, and turnout from these voters has propelled him to some surprising victories in the West, Deep South and Plains states.

COMMENT:  The Pennsylvania primary is April 24th, less than three weeks away.  If Santorum can't carry his own home state, he is gone.  Indeed, one astute observer said on Fox News last night that Santorum will probably drop out before April 24th if the polls in Pennsylvania turn against him.  The humiliation of a loss would probably end his political career and make him an object of ridicule.

We stress again:  This is one poll.  But it does seem to show that Republicans want to unite around one candidate, a perfectly logical wish at this point in the campaign.

April 5,  2012