It wasn′t even close. The Illinois primary results for 2012 are in and Mitt Romney easily won the state. He topped Rick Santorum, who finished second, by a dozen points, getting 47% to Santorum′s 35%. All of the networks called the race pretty much immediately based on the Illinois exit polling data. Most of the early precincts that reported in were from the Chicago area and showed Romney ahead by 25-30 points over Santorum. Add to this the fact that Santorum failed to qualify in 10 districts for delegates, and Illinois could be called a major setback for the Rick Santorum campaign. The impact of this may be revealed quickly with the upcoming primaries in Louisiana and Wisconsin approaching.

illinois primary 2012

Of course, Romney and his Super PAC outspent Santorum by a margin of seven-to-one. The carpet bombing strategy continues to work for Romney. The question which needs to be asked is how well would he fair in a more competitive race? With the help of the unions, and the Media, Romney′s cash advantage will not be there against Barack Obama in November. Even if Obama fails to raise the billion dollars he would like to have in his campaign war chest, Romney will not be able to maintain the current spending ratios.

In some respects, last night′s contest changed nothing in terms of the GOP nomination race. With only 54 delegates at stake, Romney′s lead did not move much. He still needs to win more than half of all remaining delegates. This with only 19 more elections remaining. While these include the three largest states, California, New York and Texas, all Santorum needs to do is hang on, win Pennsylvania and one other winner-take-all state, and Romney could still face an open convention this summer.

Even with Mitt Romney winning the Illinois primary of 2012, results from last night still show his weaknesses as a candidate. Some 40% of those responding in exit polls who voted for Romney still have reservations about him. Being able to beat Rick Santorum by outspending him 7-to-1 does not translate to having an easy time facing Barack Obama in November. If Romney truly wanted to prove his worthiness, then he should cool it in Wisconsin and battle Santorum by just matching his spending levels. Then we might see just how inevitable Romney truly is.