Poll: Romney Up by 15 in Illinois

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
March 19 2012 9:05 AM

Poll: Romney Up by 15 in Illinois

It's a good thing everyone filed his/her "Romney campaign: Blithering or merely idiotic?" columns last week. From Public Policy Polling:

Mitt Romney is headed for a blowout victory in Illinois on Tuesday. He leads with 45% to 30% for Rick Santorum, 12% for Newt Gingrich, and 10% for Ron Paul.
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Romney's particularly strong among voters who live in suburban areas (50-29) and with those who live in urban areas (46-23). But he's even running slightly ahead of Santorum, 38-36, with folks who identify as living in rural parts...

Rick Santorum won Alabama and (in a squeaker) Mississippi, then squandered two full days campaigning in Puerto Rico. Missouri's Fellini-esque caucuses did not, and were never expected to, announce a winner over the weekend. The result: Santorum will have spent two (2) days campaigning in Illinois before the primary. He's spending today in Rockford, Dixon, Moline, and Peoria, north and central Illinois outside the Chicago burbs, rural congressional districts where he can pick up delegates. This is wise. It's possible that networks will be able to make an early call that Romney has won Illinois, but Santorum will end up peeling off some of its 69 delegates. Also possible, after the John King U.S.A. cameras have moved on: A nasty fight over the way Romney's Illinois team, led by State Treasurer Dan Rutherford, botched up the signature gathering process. Listen closely to the Team Santorum spin these days and you hear hints that the campaign is following the Ron Paul songbook, reading delegate rules and finding ways that a good grassroots campaign can peel off delegates that other candidates have "won."

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. You can reach him at daveweigel@gmail.com, or tweet at him @daveweigel.