Mercyhurst University poll:
The telephone poll, released Monday, was conducted by the Mercyhurst Center for Applied Politics and surveyed 425 registered Republican voters in Pennsylvania.
The Mercyhurst poll was released one day after Santorum created a stir by calling well-known Franklin & Marshall College professor and pollster G. Terry Madonna a "Democratic hack."
A recent Franklin & Marshall poll also shows that Santorum's onetime big lead in Pennsylvania is dwindling.
"The 6 percent lead suggests a tightening race with a month to go before the Pennsylvania primary," said Dr. Joseph Morris, director of the school's Center for Applied Politics. Morris also pointed out that Santorum's lead is within the poll's margin of error of plus or minus 4.75 percentage points.
When asked who stands a better chance of defeating Obama in the Nov. 6 election, 50 percent of voters surveyed said Romney; 24 percent chose Santorum.
According to the poll results, 49 percent of Republican voters believe the lengthy nomination process is hurting the GOP's ability to challenge Obama for the presidency.
Further, 55 percent of Republicans surveyed said the tone of this Republican primary has been more negative than past ones.
Complete poll results will be available on the Mercyhurst Center for Applied Politics' website, polisci.mercyhurst.edu/mcap/, in the coming days.
Morris, addressing Santorum's remarks about Madonna, said that Franklin & Marshall "has a long history of doing very good polling. In many ways, the poll conducted by the Mercyhurst Center for Applied Politics confirms F&M's finding that, among registered Republicans in Pennsylvania, Rick Santorum's lead appears to have diminished when compared to the lead he had two months ago."
The Harrisburg Patriot-News reported on Sunday that Madonna said Santorum's personal attack did not point out factual errors or question his polling's scientific methodology.
"I didn't hear any complaints when I had him up 29 points" in February, Madonna said. "I didn't hear him complain when I had him up in '94 and 2000.
"I think what I saw was the pressure for him to get out of the race. And there is big pressure."http://www.goerie.com/article/20120403/NEWS02/304029907/Mercyhurst-University-poll%3A-Santorum%27s-lead-with-state%27s-Republicans-shrinking