Mitt Romney leads the pack of Republican presidential candidates in Pennsylvania with 21 percent support, but native son and former Sen. Rick Santorum is running second with 16 percent, according to a poll released Wednesday by Quinnipiac University.
Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor and vice presidential nominee, is third with 11 percent, the poll finds. All of the other candidates are drawing support from fewer than 8 percent of the Keystone State’s GOP voters.
In hypothetical matchups, President Obama would defeat Romney 47 percent to 40 percent in Pennsylvania, a perpetually crucial swing states in presidential elections. Obama leads Santorum by a 49 percent-to-38 percent margin as of now in a hypothetical matchup, the survey finds.
Obama has a split approval rating in the poll, 48 percent rating his job performance positively and 48 percent viewing it negatively. That was an improvement from Quinnipiac’s April 28 survey, when only 42 percent approved of the president’s job, and 53 percent disapproved, the lowest score in the university’s polls of Pennsylvania since Obama took office in January 2009.
“Whether it’s still the Osama bin Laden bounce or because voters are taking a closer look at the alternatives, President Barack Obama’s fortunes in Pennsylvania…has improved – at least for now,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
“Independent voters, a critical bloc, have shifted dramatically in the six weeks since President Obama suffered his all-time low in Pennsylvania.”
The poll was based on telephone interviews with 1,227 registered voters from June 7 through June 12, with results subject to an error margin of plus or minus 2.7 percentage points. The Republican primary preferences are based on interviews with 523 GOP voters; those results are subject to an error margin of 4.5 percentage points.
Quinnipiac’s verdict on Obama’s job performance differs from a survey released last week by Susquehanna Polling & Research, of Harrisburg, which found that 48 percent dispproved of the job the president is doing, to 41 percent who approved.