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Thursday Political Grab Bag: Poll Shows Romney Surge In PA

Mitt Romney has taken the lead in voter support in Pennsylvania, according to a new poll from Public Policy Polling which shows the Republican frontrunner ahead of Rick Santorum, the former U.S. senator from the Keystone State, 42 percent to 37 percent. That lead was just on the 4.9 point margin of error, suggesting a tie. That's bad news for Santorum, however, as he dropped six percentage points while Romney gained 17 percent from a month ago.

Santorum is taking time off from the campaign trail, ostensibly for the Easter holidays. But with the break coming after Santorum's losses of three primaries on Tuesday and his flagging support in polls in Pennsylvania, some observers wonder if the Republican presidential candidate is considering dropping out.

Amid a grassroots campaign of boycotts, Coca Cola and PepsiCo are quitting the American Legislative Exchange Council, an organization with conservative leanings that has promoted pro-business and controversial legislation like Stand-Your-Ground and voter ID laws in statehouses across the nation.

Speculation about a national Republican ticket featuring Romney and Rep. Paul Ryan were fueled by the congressman's apparent easy rapport with Romney during their recent campaigning together ahead of the Wisconsin primary and the extent to which Romney has embraced the House Budget Committee chairman's fiscal plan.

Democratic National Committee chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz rejected charges by Sen. Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican, that Democrats would use Mormonism as a way of attacking Romney, calling the accusation "nonsense."

The cross currents from consumer anxiety over rising gas prices and pressure from environmental groups are forcing numerous Democrats campaigning for Senate seats to take a definite position on the Keystone XL pipeline, in contrast to President Obama who said he is waiting for federal regulators finish their review before he decides one way or another.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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