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Romney back in ‘inevitability’ mode

The delegate gap keeps building, and polls show Romney well ahead in Illinois

Rick Santorum’s upset wins in Alabama and Mississippi last Tuesday strengthened the it-ain’t-over narrative (even though Mitt Romney gained more total delegates even on that day) but the latest tiny bounces of the ball are all going Romney’s way.

Romney won in blowout fashion in Sunday’s Puerto Rico primary. They’re not done counting yet but it looks like he will break 80 percent, hold Rick Santorum (and Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul) under 10. Romney will get all 20 delegates. When the numbers started coming in, some of the pundits said that Santorum had blown it by making a last-minute campaign swing around Puerto Rico, which means he can’t really argue that Romney won because no one else competed.

The next big event is Tuesday’s Illinois primary and Public Policy Polling has the latest survey out showing the race there this way:

  • Romney: 45 percent
  • Santorum, 30 percent
  • Gingrich 12 percent
  • Paul: 10 percent.

In Illinois, as in several previous states, Santorum had trouble filing a complete delegate slate and may end up finishing worse in the delegate count than his share of the vote. Plus, PPP asked Illinoisans whom they would support if  Gingrich was off the ballot and Romney still beat Santorum by 11 percentage points.

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The AP reports that the Romneyites are increasing their public and private calls for the others to accept their fate. “It’s time to coalesce,” Ann Romney said, while standing next to her husband whom, one presumes, would be the beneficiary of said coalescence.

On CBS’s “This Morning,” Santorum described Romney as a candidate with “no core convictions” whose “been on both sides of almost every single issue over the last 10 years.”

“No core” is a meme that Team Obama has been developing.