The final embarrassment. April 24.

Rick Santorum looks like he’s toast. A month ago he was even in Wisconsin and up by double digits in Pennsylvania.

Last night he got blown out in Wisconsin based on the Republicans who voted – he did manage to get close when you include the crossover Democrats who voted for him. A week ago he was down to two ahead in Pennsylvania.  And that’s the good news for the Sweater Boy.

According to Public Policy Polling (PPP) things aren’t just “worse”, they’re looking like a disaster.

Mitt Romney’s taken the lead in PPP’s newest poll of Rick Santorum’s home state of Pennsylvania. Romney has 42% to 37% for Santorum with Ron Paul at 9% and Newt Gingrich at 6%. The numbers represent a dramatic turnaround from when PPP polled the state a month ago. Romney’s gained 17 points, going from 25% to 42%. Meanwhile Santorum’s dropped 6 points from 43% to 37%, for an overall swing of 23 points in the last four weeks.

Twenty three points in four weeks.  And Romney hasn’t even turned the advertising guns on Santorum yet.  It’s likely to get worse for Mr. Santorum unless he can mobilize the Democrats in Pennsylvania as he was able to in Wisconsin.  And, for the record, I have no idea if Democrats can cross over in Pennsylvania, the idea is just a lifeline for Santorum.  ***UPDATE:  a friend just emailed me and PA is a closed primary.  Really not good for Rick.***

I’m not in the least surprised by this.  Santorum is a well known entity in Pennsylvania and he’s not particularly well liked.  In 2006 when he got blown out after pandering to union voters by stopping national Right-to-Work legislation, the real killer was moving from Pennsylvania to the Washington suburbs and then taking money from his old Pennsylvania school district because his kids were being home-schooled.  That didn’t go down well and if you look around at comments in places other than Redstate you’ll find that the folks in Pennsylvania haven’t forgotten that little episode.

If you look at the internals, and they are available from a link at the summary linked to above, you’ll see what’s summarized below.

Romney’s made huge in roads with the groups that have tended to fuel Santorum’s success. What was a 37 point lead for Santorum with Evangelicals is now only 10 points at 44-34. What was a 32 point advantage for him with Tea Party voters is now only 6 at 41-35. And in the greatest sign that conservatives are starting to really around Romney a little bit, what was a 51 point deficit for him with ‘very conservative’ voters is now only 11 points at 44-33.

The sun is setting on Mr. Santorum.  If he lets his ego run things and gets blown out his political career is most likely over.  He’s been dogged throughout this campaign by his thrashing in the 2006 Senatorial race.  He’ll never live another beating down and rise to run again.  He likely won’t rise above dropping out now with the polls heading south, but a clean loss on his home turf would be a stake through the heart.

The primary is days from being, thankfully, over.  Time to turn the guns – and that would be a metaphor thank you – on Barack Obama and his wrecking crew.

Oh, and don’t bother whining about PPP being a Democratic Pollster.  As it happens, they are consistently very accurate and it’s the trend line that matters not their perceived leaning.

UPDATE:  Rasmussen has Santorum up 4.  I haven’t had time to look at anything but the email heading and won’t for several hours.  Frankly, it doesn’t change much.  Yes, there’s an outside possibility Rick can pull out a narrow win.  That’s no consolation for the reasons noted.  And also Yes!, the numbers are still headed in Romney’s way big time.