Biggest Race of '06? Santorum Talks To Townhall

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Aug 15, 2006 11:14 AM

I got a few minutes from Rick Santorum while he was on the trail yesterday.

Click over to read the senator's thoughts on fighting Islamofascism, immigration, blogs, and the Lamont/Lieberman race. Good stuff.

Read the whole thing, and feel free to help the senator out, here.

UPDATE: Oh, I forgot to mention that I asked the Senator what blogs he reads: Little Green Footballs, RedState, and The Corner.

And, there's good poll news for Santorum today. A Quinnipiac poll reflects the same 6-point disadvantage for Santorum that an early-August poll showed.

In a three-way contest, the new poll found Casey leading Santorum 45 percent to 39 percent, with Green Party candidate Carl Romanelli picking up 5 percent. Eleven percent said they were undecided or did not plan to vote, according to the Quinnipiac University poll.

As a two-way race, without Romanelli, 47 percent of the same respondents favored Casey to 40 percent for Santorum, with 13 percent undecided or expressing another opinion.

The results of the poll, based on telephone interviews with 1,384 Pennsylvania registered voters from Aug. 8 through Monday, carry a sampling margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points. The June poll showing Casey leading Santorum by 18 points, 52 percent to 34 percent, was also conducted by Quinnipiac University.

The Casey campaign said Tuesday it expected the race to tighten.

Real Clear Politics thinks the two polls, taken together, portend good things for Santorum:

Santorum, of course, still has a host of problems working against his bid for a third term, but Casey's campaign should be very concerned to what is happening to their vaunted lead. One of the major considerations in RCP's ranking this race as Lean Democrat and why Casey is still likely to win, is simply the size of the deficit Santorum has to make up.

We have said from the outset to expect Santorum to close hard, but thought he would just come up short in the end, primarily because he simply had too deep a hole to climb out of. But if more polls continue to confirm this a 5-8 point race, rather than a 11-14 point race before Labor Day, this contest becomes a complete toss up.

The Kos take on the poll (oh, this is always fun):

Consider this: Mehlman's ilk is fighting to disenfranchise millions of voters nationwide. He knows (just as in 2000, 2002, and 2004,) that the only way to "win the game" is to cheat. It's the same for the GOP now as it was then as it shall remain tomorrow and the next day until principled conservative citizens realize that they must recapture control of their party for the sake of their future.

This is what "adapting to win" is all about.

... Just a heads up. While I am not a 100%'er for Casey, the man has my vote. I am hopeful and strongly suggest that he to collect his people and start hitting the pavement.

Uh-huh.

James Joyner is not exactly optimistic:

Richards’ analysis strikes me as plausible. For an incumbent to be trailing six points inside 90 days to the election, despite a spoiler candidate sucking 5 points from his leading challenger, is hardly a good sign. And 49 percent negatives are nothing to write home about, either.

Still, the Santorum campaign (which is touting this poll in a press release) is glad to at least be on the upswing. Casey had an 18 point lead in this same poll in June. That this race is still competitive should give the Republicans some hope.