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Republicans may think 'blah' about Mitt Romney, but it's his numbers that count

The next big GOP presidential primary is Illinois on Tuesday. Mitt Romney is favored to win the most number of delegates – his likely pattern through April, which could put him ever closer to winning his party's nomination.

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The headline on University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato’s “Crystal Ball” blog reads “Romney Set to Dominate Race Through April.” From now through April, professor Sabato and his colleagues predict, Romney will add 268 delegates to his stable compared to 117 for Santorum. That includes 34 in Illinois (20 for Santorum).

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Santorum may dominate in Louisiana (the one southern state during this period) and his home state of Pennsylvania, according to Sabato’s reckoning. But Romney will dominate in Maryland, Wisconsin, Connecticut, New York, and other states and the District of Columbia.

At the moment, according to the Associated Press “delegate tracker,” Romney has 495, Santorum 252, Newt Gingrich 131, and Ron Paul 48. (The first candidate to reach 1,144 delegates will win the Republican nomination.)

“Barring a massive, difficult to fathom shift in this contest, Mitt Romney has a better than 80 percent chance to be the GOP nominee,” Sabato and his colleagues wrote this week. “The reason is that, much like when Hillary Clinton was fighting a front-running Barack Obama in the last few months of the 2008 Democratic primary, the delegate math – and particularly the lack of true winner take all contests – favors the candidate with the big delegate lead.”

As the campaign clock ticks on toward the GOP convention in Tampa, Fla. in August, that looks increasingly to be Mitt Romney.


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