Public Policy Polling released results of their latest polling of Pennsylvania which shows Mitt Romney taking the lead over Rick Santorum in Santorum's home state, by a five point margin, 42/37.
Rasmussen still shows Santorum up by four points, 42/38.
Both polls taken after Romney's three state primary wins in DC, Maryland and Wisconsin.
Previous polling from PPP and Quinnipiac shows a pattern in PA polling that should be alarming for Santorum, where in early March both organizations had Santorum up by double digits and now PPP has Romney up by five and Quinnipiac showing Santorum going from a 14 point lead to a six point lead even before the the MD, DC and WI primary contests.
The Real Clear Politics average has Santorum down to a 1.7 percent lead over Romney.
Sanotrum's is taking a four day break from the campaign trail with a note on his website saying "The Santorum for President campaign will be taking a brief break from the campaign trail so that the team has an opportunity to return to their homes and spend time with family and friends. The Santorum family wishes everyone a safe and blessed holiday weekend."
This break amidst the conflicting polling for his home state has led to speculation as to whether Santorum is contemplating a suspension of his campaign.
At this point there is no doubt that Santorum, Gingrich nor Paul cannot obtain the 1,144 delegates required to win the Republican nomination. All three of the above mentioned candidates have stated their intention to collect enough delegates to block Romney from obtaining that number before convention and forcing a convention floor vote.
If that is still the sole intent for Rick Santorum, then nothing has changed despite the PA polling, but comments by a close Santorum friend point to another possibility.
Comments made by Senator Jake Corman (R), a longtime friend of Santorum and his family, where he states "As long as he sees a pathway to the nomination he’s going to stay in it, but he won’t stay in it to prove a point," indicates that Santorum may not be willing to continue if there is a chance he will lose in his home state.
There is also a third option available and one that is already being discussed between Santorum and other conservatives and that is Santorum and Gingrich perhaps working together to stop Romney from getting the required delegates.
Two people close to the meeting said the discussion focused on how Mr. Santorum could win the race and what role Mr. Gingrich might play.
Time’s Mark Halperin, provides a little more on that, via Twitter:
BREAKING NEWS: Santo meeting in Virginianow w conservative leaders. Talk re the path forward, Santo-Newt unity effort to stop Romney.— Mark Halperin (@Markhalperin) April 5, 2012
Would that alliance be too little too late?
If Santorum goes back to the campaign trail on Monday then it is a fair guess that he will stay in the race at least until April 24, 2012, when the PA primary is held.