"Illinois gives Romney big win," headlined the Washington Post this morning. It must have made Mitt Romney happy if only for a moment. Sure he won Michigan, but barely. And Ohio, but barely. He won Illinois big – 47% of the vote to 35% for Rick Santorum. (Paul and Gingrich both finished in single digits.) He may not have won one that big since Florida and I don't even remember when that was.
A win in Illinois matters. It matters more than one in Mississippi or Massachusetts. That's partly because it's a pretty good sample of the country as a whole – urban, rural, suburban, academic, industrial. Illinois looks a lot like the rest of the country.
So is it over? Oddly enough a lot of the experts say no. They are full of doubts about Rick Santorum. The Washington Post questions his ability to do well in large states with diverse electorates. The Illinois numbers may support the Post's view.
Who did win what kind of voter yesterday? A poll conducted by Edison Reasearch says Romney carried both men and women, carried voters who identify themselves as moderate or somewhat conservative. He lost to Santorum among those who – you guessed it – said they were very conservative. Evangelicals were for Santorum too. Tea Party supporters and Tea Party opponents were both for Romney. Go figure that one out.
So has he enough delegates to win the nomination? Certainly not. You need 1144 and he's no where near that yet.
So, it goes on like breathing or life or the earth turning. I can hear voters now saying, "What? More primaries? You've got to be kidding." No, voters, this column is not kidding. It ain't over. More Wednesday broadcasts and papers titled "Has he won yet?" lie ahead.
Sorry. But at least we've had a blessed break from their debates.