updated 9/26/2006 10:52:46 AM ET 2006-09-26T14:52:46

Democrat Bob Casey appears to have doubled his lead over Sen. Rick Santorum in Pennsylvania's Senate race , according to a poll released Tuesday.

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Casey had a 14-point lead in the Quinnipiac University Poll, with 54 percent of likely voters saying they planned to vote for him compared to 40 percent for Santorum. One percent said they wouldn't vote and 6 percent said they didn't know. Casey had a seven point lead among likely voters in a match up between the two in the same poll on Aug. 15.

On Monday, a state judge said Green Party candidate Carl Romanelli would be removed from the ballot because the party did not have enough valid signatures in its nominating petitions - a move pundits said would help Casey.

In a three-way matchup, Casey led Santorum 51 to 39 percent among likely voters with 4 percent saying they would vote for Romanelli, the poll found. Five percent were undecided.

Republican on the ropes
Santorum, a Republican who has raised significantly more money than Casey, began running ads on airwaves statewide in late June. Two months later, Casey went up statewide with TV ads. 2006 key races

Since then, Casey seems to have made progress defining himself favorably, said Clay F. Richards, assistant director of the Connecticut-based university's polling institute.

Santorum's ads "are certainly not doing him any good," Richards said.

Casey had a 39 percent favorability rating among voters, with 18 percent viewing him unfavorably, the poll found. Thirty-five percent said they had a favorable view of Santorum, while 40 percent said they had an unfavorable view.

Undecided may determine outcome
With six weeks to go before the Nov. 7 general election, 17 percent of those polled who named a candidate said they still might change their mind.

The results of the poll were based on telephone interviews with 933 likely Pennsylvania voters from Sept. 19 through Sunday. The poll carried a sampling margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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