Romney Wins It, Chicago Style

Jim Burroway

March 21st, 2012

One of the most consistent trends in the GOP primaries has been Romney’s strength in urban areas. That matters in Illinois, where Chicago and its greater suburbs (the Illinois portion, at least) make up almost 9 million of Illinois’ 12.8 million statewide. This wasn’t an Illinois primary so much as it was a Chicago primary. In addition, there are another 1.5 million urban-and-suburbanites in Peoria, Champaign-Urbana, Springfield, and the the eastern metro area of St. Louis. With those kind of demographics, should come as no surprise that Romney did very well. Santorum dominated the rural areas, but when that is less than a fifth of the state’s population, that’s not much to draw on. This chart and map from CNN tells the story:

Romney 47%
Santorum 35%
Gingrich 9%
Paul 8%

The exit polls also tell a story. First of all, 98% of the GOP electorate is white?

Okay. Delving deeper, Santorum continues to hold the blue-collar vote, winning among those who have no college education. Unfortunately for hom, they were only 16% of the GOP electorate. He also pulled in the votes from those earning less than $30,000 (only 10% of the GOP electorate). And he wins among those who are “very conservative” and who identify as white born-again Evangelicals, and again he lost among Catholics, including those who attend Mass weekly. And in heavily urban Illinois, all of those factors add up to a convincing win for Romney.

So it’s Romney’s night to celebrate, right? Well, okay, but he still needs to worry that his support is weak. Of the 42% of GOP voters who “have reservations” about their candidate, 54% of them ended up supporting Romney anyway. Another dark cloud: Voters in this exit poll were asked whether they prefer their candidate ultimately wins or the primary ends soon. Of the 66% who want their candidate to win no matter how long it takes, it was very nearly an easy split between Romney and Santorum, with a slight tilt to Romney. But of the 31% who just want it over now, 54% were Romney voters. In other words, those who want this over aren’t getting their wish.


March 21st, 2012

I will admit that there is no passion for Romney, even though I support him. Why am I for Romney? Someone has to get control to the excessive spending of Congress for which both Democrats and Republicans are currently responsible. I can only pray that Romney will do better than Obama ……….. but really, I am not sure.


March 21st, 2012

I will add that I think the upcoming election will be extremely ugly and divisive. Let’s all hope that when it is all over we can get on with our lives and get this country back together with a healthy economy and a safer world with brighter future for everyone ………. even us gay folks.


March 21st, 2012

You betcha 97% of the GOP electorate in IL is white. However, in those urban areas where Romney won, the GOP tends toward the moderate, “country club” republicans.

Statewide, the GOP is in disarray. Blagojevich was indicted and impeached and the GOP still managed to lose the governor’s race.

Jim Hlavac

March 21st, 2012

Why do you find it surprising that 97% of the Republican primary voters are white? For decades 95% of African-Americans have voted Democrat. They are also very anti-gay. Perhaps that’s why Obama is evolving — 12% of the population overall is Black, 5% or less is gay. They are concentrated in a few districts, we are everywhere.

Latinos, also pretty anti-gay, in Illinois tend not to be citizens yet, so they don’t vote at all.

Jim Burroway

March 21st, 2012

The “other” category includes not just Blacks, but “other,” which typically includes Latinos, Asian-Americans, South Asian-Americans, People from the Middle East, etc. Together, those other groups make up a percentage that is nearly equal to African-Americans in Illinois, but those “others” are not voting in the GOP primary either.


March 21st, 2012

My goodness Santorum’s clueless. He didn’t even get the folks he thinks he gets. Check that question regarding church attendance.

It’ll be interesting to see that (new?) question with future primary results & in his defense perhaps these polling numbers are skewed because he didn’t make it onto every ballot in Illinois. Still funny.

Timothy Kincaid

March 21st, 2012

In Illinois, the racial breakout is
65% White
15% African American
15% Hispanic – any race
with Asian, Native, and others making up the rest

It would seem that racial minority Illinoisans disproportionately believe that the Democratic Party better represents their interests while white Illinoisans disproportionately believe that the Republican Party better represents their interests.


March 21st, 2012

Blake, I too had heard that Santorum did not make it onto every ballot in the state, but I also saw that every county had recorded a sizeable number of votes for him. The part of the ballot that relates to presidential and statewide offices are usually printed at the township or county level (townships outside of the Chicago area are usually six-square mile tracts of land).

It’s possible some of the Chicago area townships (many of which are geographically identical to municipalities) did not have Santorum on the ballots (no pun intended), but they would have been few and far between and likely in areas where republicans were few and far between.

Given the problems with improperly sized ballot forms/scanner settings, I was surprised they were able to get these ballots counted and the results certified as quickly as they did.


March 21st, 2012

Tim, if what you said was true, IL would be a red state, but it is not. Democrats have carried IL in every presidential race for the last two decades.

Timothy Kincaid

March 21st, 2012


“disproportionately” simply means that the breakout doesn’t follow demographic proportions.


March 22nd, 2012

I was watching Rachel Maddow last night and she she some very interesting light on the Republican primaries. Illinois had a one box preference question. Pick one candidate for President. I think there were a couple of extra names% on the ballot besides the current active 4. Those are the numbers that were reported and those are the numbers that appear in this article. They are meaningless. To actually vote for a candidate and have that vote get the candidate a delegate at the convention, you had to go to a separate section of the ballot and vote for each individual and alternate signed up as delegates for that candidate.

She also mentioned the voting in the Virgin Islands. Ron Paul got 29% of the vote, Romney got26%, making Paul the clear winner, but he gets 2 of the 9 delegates while Romney gets 7. The party didn’t even try to come up with an explanation for that bit of nonsense.

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