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Politics & Government

New Poll Shows Santorum's Lead Slipping

The latest poll in the run-up to Pennsylvania's April 24 primary shows Rick Santorum with a smaller lead over Mitt Romney among Republicans in the state compared to two weeks ago.

The Quinnipiac University survey shows the former Pennsylvania U.S. Senator has a 41% to 35% edge over Romney, down from a nearly 14-point lead in that university's March 20 poll. This survey focuses only on Republicans who are likely to vote in the primary.

Quinnipiac Polling Institute spokesman Tim Malloy says for that reason, it may be more indicative of where the primary is headed.

"This might be a better reflection of where it may go because we've really fine-tuned it to people who say they're going to vote, as opposed to just registered Republicans," Malloy said. "It is closer for Romney here than it was with just overall canvassing registered Republicans."

Malloy says despite Santorum's slim lead over Romney, 57 to 33 percent of people surveyed say Santorum should stay in, because they believe he's helping the Republican Party.

"Maybe they aren't completely committed to Mitt Romney and they want to hear more, but Pennsylvanians we polled seem to believe that Rick Santorum should stay there," Malloy said. "He says he's staying all the way."

The Quinnipiac University poll is the third in a week to show a neck-and-neck race leading up to the April 24 primary. A Mercyhurst College poll out today also shows Santorum with a six point lead over Romney, while a Franklin and Marshall College survey last week has Santorum's lead down to two points. A survey last month by Franklin and Marshall had Santorum ahead by nearly 30 points.

The Quinnipiac survey has a margin for error of 3.9 percent.