Obama leads Romney 50 to 42 in the Keystone State, where he averaged only a 1 percentage point advantage over Romney throughout 2011.
Romney is plagued by a poor favorability rating in Pennsylvania — only 37 percent view him positively, compared to 51 negatively. Obama’s favorability rating in Pennsylvania, like his national average, is near break-even, at 48 approval and 49 disapproval.
Independent voters have helped buoy Romney in recent national polls, but that’s not the case in Pennsylvania, where Obama leads 48 to 24. Obama also th edge among two of his most important constituent groups — women, with whom he leads 56 to 36, and young voters, with whom he leads 64 to 28.
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum dropped out of the Republican primary before facing voters in his home state, but his favorability is even worse than Romney’s, at 36 positive and 53 negative.
While Santorum isn’t mentioned very frequently as a potential running mate for Romney, one recent poll showed that he was the most popular vice presidential candidate among Tea Party supporters; a group that has so far struggled to energize behind Romney.
But even if Santorum were Romney’s running mate, the two would still trail Obama by 8 percentage points in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania is one of 12 key swing states that Obama won in 2008 that will be critical in determining the outcome of the 2012 election. Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes are the third most at stake among swing states, behind only Florida and Ohio.