Salena Zito

Said Kondik, “Needless to say, if the new poll holds true, and Pennsylvania is now a dead heat, Santorum could be staring an embarrassing loss in the face.”

Kondik said exit polls show a trend during this Republican primary election cycle.

“In states where exit polling has been conducted, Mitt Romney wins the state when the percentage of white, evangelical Christians voting is below 50 percent,” he said.

When that number is above 50 percent one of Romney’s opponents has won.

“While we do not have exit polling from Pennsylvania’s Republican primary in 2008, it’s safe to assume that the evangelical count in Pennsylvania will be similar to other states in the Midwest: 47 percent in Ohio, 42 percent in Illinois and 39 percent in Michigan,” he said. Romney won all three primaries.

The evangelical vote in Wisconsin will also likely be under 50 percent, he said.

“My larger point here is this: Santorum does not have a place coming up for the rest of the month, Pennsylvania included, where he is likely to do all that well,” he said. “Considering not only the demographics of the upcoming states, but also the fact that Romney and his allies will be outspending Santorum in Pennsylvania and other upcoming states.”

Joe Trippi, veteran Democratic strategist who ran Vermont governor Howard Dean’s presidential campaign in 2004, said he understands why Santorum can’t just let go.

“It is very hard to pull out of that once you start to taste victory,” said Trippi. “I understand the human difficulty of walking away.”

Salena Zito

Salena Zito is a political analyst, reporter and columnist.