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Santorum losing ground to Romney in Pennsylvania

Holly Bailey
The Ticket

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(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Could Pennsylvania be the end of the road for Rick Santorum's presidential bid?

A new Franklin & Marshall College poll of likely Republican voters in Pennsylvania finds Santorum has lost major ground to Mitt Romney in his home state. The two are now statistically tied ahead of the state's Apr. 24 primary. Santorum leads Romney by just 2 points, 30 percent to 28 percent—well within the poll's plus or minus 4 percent margin of error.

That's a big difference from a Franklin & Marshall poll taken just a month ago when Santorum was ahead of Romney by 29 points, 45 percent to 16 percent.

The Pennsylvania contest appears to be a two-man race. According to the latest poll, Ron Paul is running a distant third with just 9 percent support, followed by Newt Gingrich, who is at 6 percent. But 24 percent of those polled say they are still undecided—a slightly bigger number than the poll found in February.

Pennsylvania has long been considered a must-win state for Santorum, largely because it's his home state. But it's also a crucial contest for Santorum's efforts to catch up to Romney in the delegate race.

Seventy-one delegates are up for grabs in Pennsylvania, though its delegates are awarded proportionally as opposed to "winner take all."

According to the Franklin & Marshall poll, Romney has caught up to Santorum in Pennsylvania in part because he's gaining in urban areas like Philadelphia. Santorum, meanwhile, performs best against self-described "born again Christians" and voters in rural areas.

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