Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Patriot-News: Casey adds to lead over Santorum, poll shows - Santorum Tanking

Casey adds to lead over Santorum, poll shows: "Casey adds to lead over Santorum, poll shows
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Of The Patriot-News
WASHINGTON - A new poll could diminish Republicans' confidence that the U.S. Senate election is narrowing.

Democrat Robert P. Casey Jr. widened his lead over U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., by 3 percentage points, to 51 percent to 36 percent, over the last two months, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released yesterday.

The poll of 1,661 Pennsylvania voters shows that one Republican in five labels Santorum's views "extreme," and the same proportion says that he does not deserve to be re-elected.

"Sen. Santorum opens the election year a solid 15 points behind Bob Casey and facing serious opposition from a significant number of members of his own party," said Clay F. Richards, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

The poll was conducted from Jan. 31 through Feb. 6 and has a 2.4-percentage- point margin of error. A Patriot-News/WGAL-TV Keystone Poll released last week that was conducted over nearly the same period showed Casey leading Santorum by 11 points.

Forty-three percent of voters approve of Santorum's job performance, but 42 percent disapprove. Only 15 percent said they don't know enough.

While Casey's unfavorable ratings are at 6 percent, 38 percent say they don't know enough about the state treasurer to make up their mind, more than those who have a favorable opinion (34 percent).

The bottom line for Santorum is that 44 percent still say he does not deserve to be re-elected, compared with 41 percent who say he does.

Casey, who is expected to win the Democratic nomination, is favored by 70 percent of Democratic voters surveyed.

BRETT LIEBERMAN: (202) 383-7833 or blieberman@patriot-news.com"

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