Romney Way Up in Illinois, But...

Some cite lackluster performance in state he could have dominated

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 19, 2012 7:45 AM CDT

(Newser) – A new poll puts Mitt Romney 15 percentage points ahead of his closest rival, Rick Santorum, in Illinois' primary tomorrow—but perhaps he shouldn't start celebrating yet. Public Policy Polling has Romney winning 45% of the vote to Santorum's 30% (it puts Newt Gingrich at 12% and Ron Paul at 10%), noting the former Massachusetts governor is dominating the electorate's "swing" group—those who call themselves "somewhat conservative." But read this morning's papers, and you'll find a much gloomier take on the situation, with many saying Romney's effort in the state hasn't been convincing.

"He’s not overwhelming, that’s the problem through the whole damn primary," former House GOP leader Bob Michel tells Politico. Former Republican Gov. Jim Edgar hasn't backed Romney, despite being a fellow pro-business moderate. "It seems like he can get about 33% and just about hovers there," Edgar says. The Wall Street Journal reports Romney is "locked in a dogfight," citing a recent shift to the right in the state. The New York Times echoes that take, noting a growing conservative bloc and writing that "Illinois is not shaping up to be the effortless romp some had presumed."

Republican presidential candidate former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney greets people during a campaign stop Sunday, March 18, 2012 in Moline, Ill.
Republican presidential candidate former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney greets people during a campaign stop Sunday, March 18, 2012 in Moline, Ill.   (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Republican presidential candidate former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, left, prepares to take the stage as his wife Ann, right, looks on during a campaign stop Sunday, March 18, 2012 in Moline, Ill.
Republican presidential candidate former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, left, prepares to take the stage as his wife Ann, right, looks on during a campaign stop Sunday, March 18, 2012 in Moline, Ill.   (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
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