Mitt Romney has surged ahead in Rick Santorum's home state of Pennsylvania. The latest PPP survey, released Thursday, gives Romney 42 percent of the likely vote in the Republican primary April 24, compared with Santorum's 37, Ron Paul's 9, and Newt Gingrich's 6. A month ago, Santorum held a 17-point lead, 42 to 25.
Political strategists say the reason for Romney's surge is that he appears increasingly likely to be the GOP nominee. He is far ahead in committed delegates, and he is riding a wave of momentum from his primary victories this week in Wisconsin, Maryland and Washington, D.C.
Santorum, however, has pledged to stay in the race. He has less than three weeks to reverse the trend in Pennsylvania, where he was raised and which he represented in Congress for 16 years, until he lost a bid for Senate re-election in 2006. A loss in his home state would be devastating to Santorum's campaign.
Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, has far more money for TV ads and other campaign activities, and this could make the difference.