Santorum's prognosis: Not good

A new poll has the Pennslyvania Republican trailing badly in his run for re-election in 2006.

Published July 13, 2005 12:40PM (EDT)

Rick Santorum has no trouble diagnosing the problems of others. The problem of pedophilia in the Catholic church? It's the fault of Massachusetts liberals. ''When the culture is sick, every element in it becomes infected," Santorum wrote recently. "While it is no excuse for this scandal, it is no surprise that Boston, a seat of academic, political, and cultural liberalism in America, lies at the center of the storm."

Now may be a good time for Santorum to think through a problem of his own: He's up for re-election in 2006, and despite all the advantages of being an incumbent U.S. senator, his chances aren't looking so good. A new Quinnipiac University poll out today has Santorum trailing Democrat Robert Casey, Jr., by a margin of 50-39 percent. That's a bit better than the 49-35 percent hole Santorum was in back in April, but it's the kind of polling that has the National Journal declaring Santorum the most vulnerable incumbent in the Senate.

A snapshot of the divide between Santorum's hard-right views and those of his blue state constituents: The Quinnipiac poll finds that, by 64-27 percent, Pennsylvania voters want George W. Bush to nominate a new Supreme Court justice who will uphold Roe v. Wade.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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