I had to smile when I heard Rick Santorum calling Franklin & Marshall poll director Terry Madonna a "Democratic hack" on Sunday talk shows because his latest poll showed Santorum's lead over Mitt Romney in Pennsylvania all but gone.

I've known Terry for a long time, and when I wrote about politics for the Philadelphia Daily News, candidates would sometimes call and say his polls were junk - he used young, inexperienced callers, or didn't get the right survey sample, or didn't weight his results to account for demographic patterns.

The critiques always came from candidates who didn't like the results (like Rick), but over the years, I've found his stuff has been as solid as any other pollster out there. And he certainly has no partisan agenda.

The Daily News' Chris Brennan noted that Rick's memory of past polls is faulty. And since Santorum disputed Madonna's poll, two more - Quinnipiac and Mercyhurst - show Santorum's lead over Romney in single digits.

 

And if you missed it, you should read Michael Hinkelman and Catherine Lucey's lead story in Wednesday's Daily News about the Pennsylvania Welfare Department's ruthless and reckless purging of state Medicaid rolls. Their story begins with a mother who found she couldn't schedule a doctor's appointment for her two-year-old son with a cardiac pacemaker because she'd been suddenly been dumped from the rolls without notice.

Of 89,000 kids removed from the rolls since August, 23,000 have been reinstated. Read the rest here.