PPP's new Pennsylvania poll finds Donald Trump with the smallest lead he's had anywhere since July. Trump's at 24% with Ben Carson at 23%, Ted Cruz and Carly Fiorina at 9%, Jeb Bush and Chris Christie at 7%, and Marco Rubio at 6%. Those 7 are the only candidates who have more than 3% in the Keystone State. Rounding out the field are Mike Huckabee and John Kasich at 3%, Rick Santorum at 2%, Jim Gilmore and Rand Paul at 1%, and Lindsey Graham, Bobby Jindal, and George Pataki all with less than 1%.
There's a big ideological divide in where Trump and Carson's support is coming from. Trump has actually fallen to third place among voters who identify themselves as 'very conservative' with 15%, behind Carson's 31% and Cruz's 20%. The reason Trump is still up ever so slightly overall is that he gets 33% with moderates, to only 17% for Carson. It will be worth keeping an eye on to see if Trump is actually slumping with voters on the right or if this is just a blip. There's also a bit of a gender gap, with Trump leading 26/23 among men but Carson leading 23/21 with women.
Pennsylvania makes yet another state where Carson is easily the most popular Republican (a 64/17 favorability rating, the next best is Trump at 54/31) and the most frequent second choice of GOP voters (20% say Carson is their runner up, only Fiorina at 11% also joins him in double digits.) Besides Carson the only other candidate to increase their support from the last time PPP polled the state in May, before Trump got into the race, is Cruz. He's gone from a tie for 8th place at 6% on that poll up to his tie for third at 9% on this one.
A lot of candidates have gone in the wrong direction with the ascendancy of Trump over the summer, but none more so than home state hopeful Rick Santorum. In May he was in a tie for second place in the state at 12%. Now he's in tenth place at 2%. Beyond that his favorability rating has declined dramatically from +32 (57/25) all the way down to +10 (46/36). And 64% of Pennsylvania GOP voters think that it's time for Santorum to drop out of the race compared to just 23% who think he should continue on. No matter how you slice it things are looking pretty dire for Santorum.