Opening Act: The Lessons of Illinois

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
March 21 2012 8:39 AM

Opening Act: The Lessons of Illinois

1) Yes, it's a two-man race. Here's the difference between a multiple-candidate primary with one establishment favorite, and a basically two-man race with one favorite of the smoke-filled-room-filler. With most of the vote in, Mitt Romney has won 428,434 popular votes, 47 percent of the total. Here's his map.

Screen shot 2012-03-21 at 8.24.42 AM

Four years ago, John McCain won 426,777 popular votes, 47 percent of the total. Here was his map.

Screen shot 2012-03-21 at 8.27.34 AM

What it meant: A 55-2 delegate split for McCain, a 41-10 split for Romney.

2) Santorum still can't win Catholics... The final, adjusted exit polls show Mitt Romney, who's Mormon (perhaps you've heard) winning 53 percent of Illinois's Catholic vote. Rick Santorum, a Catholic, won 30 percent, and 8 percent went to Newt Gingrich, a Catholic convert. This Saturday, in Louisiana, we'll see if he can actually win Catholic voters, or if that bloc is so liberal that he can't hold it.

3) ... but he knows where his votes are. He spent only two full campaign days in the state, in the areas far from Chicago. And he won his delegates in those areas.

4) Registered Republicans are settling for Romney. If the race was resitricted to GOP voters, Romney would have 51-36, slightly better than he actually did.

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