This is exactly what my OpEdNews/Zogby People's Poll predicted (sorry Markos. It looks like Zogby got it right on this one, even though you attacked his polling.)
It is significant to note that most of Casey's loss in lead is his dropping points, not Santorum gaining points. Also, it is very important to note that Casey's lead no longer puts him in the winning percentage above 50%.
Our poll, in January, found that when respondents found out about the candidates positions on issues, Casey dropped to 40.1 against Santorum's 38.3. Pennacchio pulled 45.4 to Santorum's 43.5. And Pennacchio did it without the millions Casey has already spent.
The pollster, Terry Madonna of the Keystone Poll, speculates that Casey's drop has come because of negative ads run by a third party group and sniping by the two other democratic candidates, Chuck Pennacchio and Alan Sandals. Maybe it's because, in spite of Casey's effort to make the two debates he stingily participated in, far from the Democratic heartland in the state, the people of PA actually watched the debates and saw that Chuck Pennacchio destroyed him. Perhaps the word is getting out that Casey's a republican lite. Perhaps enough democrats are waking up to see that it will take a Real democrat to beat a tough republican, that Rendell, Reid and Schumer have made a stupid tactical mistake in choosing Casey.
That does not excuse the Casey cultists who are, like the 33% of republicans still supporting Bush, blindly supporting Casey because of his Cosmetic advantages. Being the son of a former governor and winning a race with a nobody doesn't cut it. I have not yet, even among political activists, been able to find anyone who knew the name of the guy Casey beat in the 2004 election. And don't go googling it. That doesn't count.
This senate race will require a tough, strong candidate who can face a crowd, stand up for his prinicples, stand out as different than the incumbent and build a massive grassroots movement.
About the money. Whatever money will have been raised before the primary is insignificant to what will have to be raised after the primary. When Chuck Pennacchio wins the primary, he will be on the covers of every newsweekly. He will be acclaimed as the underdog who took on and beat the establishment. His win will catapult him to fame and into the hearts of the nation. And his charisma and straight talk will build his campaign into an unbeatable juggernaut.
He will be brutally attacked because Chuck will be a formidable force in the senate, the leader we hoped Obama would be. He will be the 21st century's next Paul Wellstone. And the money will pour in. Every senator who stumped for Casey will get behind Pennacchio. They will have to. His fundraising will dwarf Casey's because of his personality and his positions on issues. Imagine what Pennacchio will do when he has millions. He'll use it to build his grassroots base and that will not only win him the election, but also create a permanently resurrected, incredibly stronger Democratic base in Pennsylvania that will sweep in a lot of other candidates this year and in years to come.
Now is the time to stand up and support the real Democrat in this race, Chuck Pennacchio not the guy who is trying to look like a Republican.
If you've been supporting Casey, read the tea leaves and stop drinking the Koolaid. His poll slump will only get worse.
The next OpEdNews/Zogby People's Poll will be out early next week. Look for it on www.opednews.com
We'll also be asking about 25 issue questions, some unusual demographic questions and questions on the Gov/lt.gov race, to try to tease out which lt.gov. paired with Rendell against Swann/Matthews does best in the general election.
PS. If the print media don't do their job in PA and educate the public on the difference between the candidates, and Casey buys a win in the primary, I'll be supporting him, in spite of my misgivings over the damage a Casey win will produce for women's rights, because the DLC will start using him as an anti abortion poster child for how democrats can win.