Tonight is the primary in Illinois. What is worth watching is both the Republican Presidential primary and the Democratic primary for Congressional district IL-10. You can find my primer for tonight here.
Polls close at 7 pm local time which is 8 pm Eastern.
7:55 pm – The early exit polling data shows that a large number of both Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney supporters have reservations about their candidates.
8:00 pm – You can find the exit polling at CNN. The early exit poll data has Romney leading by 10 points.
8:02 pm – Based on the exit polling it should be a good night for Mitt Romney but not as great as the recent polling indicated.
8:05 pm – There is a pretty big education/economic divide in the race. Santorum is winning with those who did not attend college and make less than 50,000. On the other hand Romney is doing very well with those making over 50,000 and who did attend college.
8:15 pm – Once again Santorum won the ‘very conservative’ vote, but the good news for Romney is that the electorate is relatively moderate compared to most states so far. A full 35% of voters called themselves moderate or liberal.
8:25 pm – Santorum won the Evangelical vote, Romney won the non-Evangelical. The problem for Santorum is that Evangelicals make up only 42% of the vote today.
8:30 pm – 43% say Romney is not conservative enough and 43% say he is about right.
8:35 pm – With 3 percent reporting it is currently Romney 54%, Santorum 28%, Ron Paul 11%, Newt Gingrich 7%.
8:37 pm – Fox News is protecting that Mitt Romney is the winner of Illinois.
8:40 pm – In IL-10 the Democratic primary is incredibly close. With 21 percent reporting it is Brad Schneider 43.6% and Ilya Sheyman at 42.1%. In this primary Sheyman is seen as the more progressive candidate.
8:41 pm – CNN and NBC also call Illinois for Romney.
8:49 pm – With 19% reporting it is Romney 56% Santorum 27%. Santorum’s better places haven’t reported heavily yet but there is a good chance Romney could end up winning with over 50% of the vote today.
8:55 pm – It really is not looking good for Sheyman. With 70% reporting it is Schneider 47%, Sheyman 39%. This is a really low turnout primary.
9:17 pm – Mitt Romney is about to speak to declare victory tonight. This will be one of his largest wins to date.
9:20 pm – Romney just can’t do passion, can he?
9:30 pm – The more a listen to Romney the less funny he sounds. On a purely subjective level he has some of the worst comedic time possible. He makes even a good joke unfunny.
9:38 pm – With 49.4% reporting it is Romney 49.5% Santorum 32.9% but most of Chicago has reported. Romney is going to win big tonight but might end up just shy of 50%.
9:41 pm – While not official called yet it now clearly appears that Brad Schneider will win the Democratic primary in IL-20. With 95% reporting it is Schneider 47.2% to Sheyman 38.7%.
Final Thoughts – Tonight was a great night for Romney. There really isn’t much else to say. This is a state Romney should have won and he did win it by a big margin. He should likely net the vast bulk of the delegates as a result.