Hours into the Illinois Republican primary, it looks like there won’t be any surprises. Mitt Romney is set to win a decisive victory, with the most recent poll putting the former Massachusetts governor ahead 45% to just 30% for former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum. The Romney campaign in Illinois has spent millions on television ads in the last few weeks, while Santorum has failed to generate much enthusiasm even amongst the state’s most conservative voters.
Because neither candidate has spent much time campaigning in the state — Santorum took time off to stump in Puerto Rico, where he was trounced — television presence will probably be decisive. Romney and his Super PAC, Restore Our Future, have spent as much as $4 million in Illinois media markets. Santorum’s campaign and Super PAC, the Red White and Blue Fund, have spent only $530,111, mostly on an ad attacking Romney’s conservative credentials, “Meet the Real Mitt Romney.”
Santorum may never have had a shot. The state’s Republican voters tend to self-describe as moderate conservatives, and polls show Romney ahead of Santorum amongst not just urban and suburban voters, but rural ones — a demographic Santorum was expected to win — as well.
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