2006: HIS HISTORIC LOSS BY A RECORD MARGIN
Poor Approval rating
On May 31, 2006, the polling firm Rasmussen Reports declared that Santorum was the "most vulnerable incumbent" among the Senators running for re-election.
SurveyUSA polling taken right before the election showed that Santorum was the LEASTleast popular of all 100 Senators, with a 38% approval rating and a net approval rating of -19%.
His controversial views and outspokenness
In the Senate, Santorum was an outspoken conservative from a state with a history of electing moderates. This led many political commentators to speculate that his low approval ratings were due to some of his more controversial statements and opinions.
Among these controversies were his views on the privatization of Social Security and the teaching of intelligent design in public schools. In addition, his involvement in the Terri Schiavo case was considered by many in his state to be out of place
“The impression that Santorum finds the prevalent practice of birth control ‘harmful to women’ is, frankly, mind-numbing,” Rubin wrote.
He was voted out 59% to 41% in the largest defeat of a Senator in 50 years.
(Romney, to help elect a Republican senator, donated $4200 to Santorum's losing campaign.
A climber who became a member of the Washington establishment that he had once railed against.
he was interested in what would get you the most votes,” Robert O’Connor, a former professor, recalled. “I remember him asking me would he be more successful as a Democrat or a Republican.”
he was a point man in a controversial effort to place Republicans in lobbying jobs.And his finances came into question, amid controversy over political donations and tuition money he accepted.
He went from someone who criticized the exercise of power and wanted reforms, and turned into Mr. Insider, calling people, making deals.”
1990, CANVASING EXCELLENCE
Mr. Santorum won election in 1990 to the House by attacking his Democratic opponent for living in Washington while representing Pennsylvania; by 2006 his critics said the same of him. He also attacked Walgren for voting for a pay raise seven times
Santorum was able to win the seat in the House of Representatives, doing very well at canvasing and one-on-one.
THE GANG OF SEVEN
first came to national attention as a member of the "Gang of Seven" (which included John Boehner) a group of freshman Republicans who helped expose the House Bank scandal. Ideologically very different from Wofford,
(Gingrich later was caught kiting 26 checks.)
1994, FOR SENATE AT A GREAT TIME FOR REPUBLICANS
1994 was the year of a Republican congressional landslide. This may not have greatly helped Santorum’s standing among Democrats, but his anti-incumbent status probably boosted his appeal among independents.
Against a very weakened opponent
In February 1994, only one-fourth of the state's registered voters thought his opponent was performing well as U.S. Senator, while over half rated his performance as fair or poor. Nearly half of all voters thought it was time for a chang.
A second key consideration was President Clinton's unpopularity in Pennsylvania. According to the October 1994 Keystone Poll he was viewed favorably by only three in ten Pennsylvania voters.
Both Wofford and Clinton were champions of a massive overhaul of the nation's health care system. Moreover, Wofford maintained a high level of support for President Clinton's legislative agenda, voting 87 percent of the time in 1993 with the President.
The press speculated that the lingering death of health care reform in Congress had effectively destroyed Wofford, since he spent valuable time in Washington working on its passage and not tending to his constituents.
In the end, Santorum won a narrow victory, which in large measure was linked to the Republican tide that swept the nation.
Santorum had gained a reputation as a polarizing figure during his first term in the Senate, but he entered the race with a large fundraising advantage and high levels of support from the political right - and he had a weak opponent
2006 (see also the lead-in, above)
Casey's margin of victory was the largest ever for a Democratic Senate nominee in Pennsylvania, and the largest margin of victory for a Senate challenger in the 2006 elections.[Santorum was unopposed in repub primary, as his potential opponent failed to get enough signatures.
his low approval ratings were due to some of his more controversial statements and opinions.
Among these controversies were his views on the privatization of Social Security and the teaching of intelligent design in public schools. In addition, his involvement in the Terri Schiavo case was considered by many in his state to be out of place.
"In the November 7, 2006 election, Santorum lost by over 700,000 votes, receiving 41% of the vote to Casey's 59%, the largest margin of defeat for an incumbent senator since 1980 and the largest losing margin for an incumbent Republican senator ever." (Wikipedia)
SurveyUSA polling taken right before the election showed that Santorum was the least popular of all 100 Senators, with a 38% approval rating and a net approval rating of -19%. Survey
Some dirty campaigning, again
At least one of Santorum's television ads called into question his campaign's use of the facts regarding Casey and people who had donated money to the Casey campaign.
The ad, which aired in September, showed several men seated around a table, while talking amongst themselves and smoking cigars, inside a jail cell. While none of the figures, who were played by actors, were named personally, the narrator provided the job descriptions, previous donations to Casey, and ethical and/or legal troubles of each. The Santorum campaign later provided the names of the people portrayed.
An editorial in Casey's hometown newspaper, The Times-Tribune, pointed out that all but one of the contributions "[was] made to Casey campaigns when he was running for other offices, at which time none of the contributors were known to be under investigation for anything." In fact, two of the persons cited in the Santorum campaign ad had actually given contributions to Santorum's 2006 Senate campaign. Another of the figures portrayed had died in 2004. Political scientist Larry Sabato called the ad "over the top" and suspected that the fallout would hurt Santorum
On March 10, 2006 the American Prospect issued a report on Santorum's finances that reveals that he has received a home loan from a campaign contributor and used money from his political action committee in a variety of questionable ways. See more details in the cited link.
Other controversies: In SourceWatch article. Bias helping donor to get big contribution, Hitler comparisons,. K Street Project, homosexuality, etc.