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Romney Still Up By Double-Digits in Illinois

Mitt Romney is leading by 14-points in the American Research Group poll today, backing up yesterday’s Public Policy Polling survey that found Romney up by 15 points.

Mitt Romney leads the Illinois Republican presidential primary with 44%. Romney is followed by Rick Santorum with 30%, Newt Gingrich with 13%, and Ron Paul with 8%.

Romney leads Santorum 45% to 35% among self-identified Republicans, followed by Gingrich with 12% and Paul with 4%. Among self-identified independents and Democrats, Romney leads with 42%, followed by Paul with 20%, Gingrich with 17%, and Santorum with 16%.

Also note the gap between Santorum and Romney when it comes to women voters:

Romney leads Santorum 46% to 29% among women, followed by Gingrich with 12% and Paul with 8%.

Keep in mind; Santorum has performed better than polling projections, particularly in Alabama and Mississippi. And when it came to predicting the outcome in the Magnolia state, both PPP and ARG were way out of range, as Ed Morrissey explains:

Let’s not forget that both PPP and ARG didn’t exactly cover themselves in glory when it came to polling Mississippi.  Four days before the primaries, ARG had Santorum 15 points off the lead, with Gingrich edging Romney 35/31 and Santorum at 20%.  The day before the primary, PPP had Santorum trailing by six in third place.  Santorum ended up winning Mississippi by two points and 4500 votes.  That counts as a pretty big swing and a miss, even in primary polling.

But it’s less likely there will be a big discrepancy between the polling and final outcome in Illinois. At the Washington Post, Scott Clement notes that Alabama and Mississippi polls under-sampled evangelical turnout, a group Santorum tends to have broad support with.

This phenomenon may be muted in Illinois for at least one reason. The Huffington Post’s Mark Blumenthal finds a correlation between Santorum’s outperformance and the percentage of evangelicals in the state. As noted earlier, Illinois was about average in the percentage of evangelicals in 2008, while Alabama and Mississippi set records for the most evangelical electorates this year.

PPP found that evangelicals in Illinois support Santorum over Romney, but the margins aren’t wide enough to make much of a difference in the state.