GOP Chair Confident Heading into 2012

Republicans are targeting Pennsylvania in their quest to retake the White House in 2012.  The Republican National Committee has already bought up commercial time on cable television, in the Keystone State, to criticize President Barack Obama.

Republican Party of Pennsylvania Chairman Rob Gleason thinks President Obama is vulnerable in PA.  “The 2012 election will come down to the President’s clear failure to lead on the economy.  He will lose because Pennsylvanians will hold him accountable at the ballot box,” Gleason told reporters on a recent conference call.

Sen. Bob Casey

US Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) is Seeking a Second Term in 2012

Pointing to last year’s legislative and Congressional races in Pennsylvania, Gleason sees clear Republican momentum.  He thinks it’s enough to not just take back the White House, but Democrat Bob Casey’s US Senate seat too.  While no high-profile Republicans have stepped forward to challenge Casey yet, Chairman Gleason says he is talking to people on a regular basis.  “We have many people considering it, and our polls show that Senator Casey is very vulnerable… He’s voted with the President 97% of the time.  When the President goes down, Bob Casey is going to go down, and we will have a good candidate for the United States Senate,” Gleason says.    

Meanwhile, a June Quinnipiac Poll in Pennsylvania finds that voters believe Casey deserves as second term, by a margin of 47 – 31%.  The election is still 16-months away, and Casey reportedly has $3.1-million dollars in his campaign coffers already.  In a statement, Pennsylvania Democratic Party Chairman Jim Burn says Casey’s in a good position entering his reelection bid.  But, Gleason believes this is going to be an expensive Senate race – possibly in the $25 – $30-million dollar range.

Santorum Greets Supporters in Somerset Co.

Santorum 2nd in Pennsylvania Presidential Poll

The GOP primary may well be decided by the time Pennsylvanians vote in 2012, but the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute didn’t shy away from the chance to take the pulse of PA voters.  Former Pennsylvania US Senator Rick Santorum comes in second in his home state, with 16% support. Frontrunner Mitt Romney leads PA with 21%.  Sarah Palin captured third place with 11%, despite the fact that she’s made no announcement concerning her candidacy.  While Santorum had a decent showing in today’s Pennsylvania poll, most national polls place him toward the bottom of the crowded GOP field. 

President Obama would win the hypothetical matchup with Rick Santorum in Pennsylvania, 49 – 38.  Obama’s approval rating in PA, according to the Q-Poll, is split 48 – 48.  That’s a marked improvement from the April poll, which showed Obama in negative territory (42 – 53).  “Whether it’s still the Osama bin Laden bounce, or because voters are taking a closer look at the alternatives, President Barack Obama’s fortunes in Pennsylvania, a critical swing state in presidential elections, have improved – at least for now,” says Quinnipiac pollster Tim Malloy. 

There are two other Republican contenders with PA ties.  Ron Paul – a Pittsburgh native – netted 6% in today’s poll.  Newt Gingrich – a Harrisburg native – received 5%.