Romney grabs 2-1 lead in Illinois (54%-27%)
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UPDATE: 9:16 p.m. The margin currently stands at 50%-32% (9:16 p.m.), down slightly from 54%-27%. Some commenters posted last week, after the vote in Alabama, that much of the Republican vote in Illinois was downstate. I didn’t buy that at the time, and I don’t buy it now. Illinois is an urban state; the Chicago metro area is a huge source of votes, and there’s no way Santorum, who relies on rural voters, could compete in Illinois. He didn’t have the organization to get himself on the ballot in several congressional districts. If there is any certainty in politics, it is that Romney is going to own the urban areas in the Republican nominating contest. Santorum will probably do well in Texas, with its large rural area, and in its cities that are populated with people whose roots are rural. I think Santorum will win the state, but Houston and Dallas have large contingents of establishment voters. Louisiana, the next state where the two GOP frontrunners will square off, is going to be interesting. The political divide in Louisiana is the redneck Protestant north vs. the Catholic Cajun south with the establishment vote in New Orleans as the determining factor. The magnitude of Romney’s victory is very impressive. I have thought all along that he would be the GOP nominee, and I see no reason to back off that view.