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Why Rick Santorum could lose in Pennsylvania, his home state

Rick Santorum is leading in Pennsylvania polls now. But Pennsylvania fits the profile of states that Mitt Romney has won.

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Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum speaks during the Pennsylvania Leadership Conference in Camp Hill, Penn., Saturday March 24, 2012. .

Ap photo/Jason Minick

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A staunch conservative from a moderate state, Rick Santorum is unlikely to get much home comfort in Pennsylvania as he tries to stay near the front of the race for the Republican presidential nomination.

Early opinion polls show Santorum leading main rival Mitt Romney ahead of the April 24 primary in Pennsylvania, a state he represented in Congress for 16 years before being resoundingly voted out of the Senate in 2006.

But Santorum faces a tough fight to hold his lead in a state where he must win - and win well - to keep his presidential ambitions afloat.

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Compared to most of the states where Santorum has done well, Pennsylvania is larger and wealthier and television advertising is expensive in its big cities. That is all typical of places where the better organized and well-financed Romney has triumphed.

In the heavily populated Philadelphia area, where Pennsylvania will be won or lost in November's general election, even Republicans are moderate on cultural issues such as abortion rights and gay marriage, a problem for Santorum, who is known best for unflinching religious conservatism.

"There isn't any doubt that his positions on cultural issues are at odds with the Republican voters in the Philadelphia suburbs," said Terry Madonna, a long-time Santorum observer and professor at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster.

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