Poll: Santorum close to beating Obama in Pennsylvania

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) would come close to beating President Obama in his home state, according to a new poll released Tuesday.

Santorum, a long-shot Republican presidential candidate, trails Obama among registered voters by a number well within the margin of error in a new Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday. Obama would best Santorum 45-43 percent, according to the poll. The survey underscores the president's vulnerability in Pennsylvania, and gives Santorum some credibility in his claims that he's electable against Obama in 2012.

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Santorum's closeness represents a significant bounce for him in Pennsylvania even since mid-June, when Obama led the former two-term senator by nine points, even on Santorum's home turf.

Now, Santorum joins former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) in being able to say that he can beat Obama in the Keystone State with its 20 electoral votes. Forty-four percent of registered voters in Pennsylvania said they would elect Romney, while 42 percent would pick Obama, the poll found.

Other Republican presidential contenders don't fare as well; Obama would beat Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) by 47-39 percent, and best Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) by 45-39 percent.

Romney still enjoys an advantage over the other GOP candidates, though, in the state's Republican voters' choice in a nominee.

Twenty-one percent of Pennsylvania Republicans said they would like to see Romney win the nomination, followed by Santorum at 14 percent, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) at 12 percent and Bachmann at 11 percent.

The poll, conducted July 25-31, has a 4.3 percent margin of error.


—Updated 7:56 a.m.