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Illinois Primary and GOP Hopefuls

Is Illinois a must-win state for Mr. Santorum?

Flag Waving
Flag Waving1

For the first time since I moved to Chicago, the Illinois GOP primary might actually be contested…

Since Super Tuesday, I’ve been reading a lot of coverage that ignores the challenges that the delegate count poses to Rick Santorum. Here’s one quick test to see if you have a good sense for this stuff. Is Illinois a must-win state for Mr. Santorum?

The answer is basically yes.

No one state is technically a must-win, and for that matter, winning the statewide vote in Illinois has no direct bearing on the delegate count (all of its delegates are awarded by Congressional district).

But Mr. Santorum will have to win in most places like Illinois to have a decent chance at preventing Mr. Romney from securing the nomination. And he’ll have to win in states much more challenging than Illinois — possibly as challenging as California — to overtake Mr. Romney in the delegate count and have the stronger case that he should be the nominee.

Although some awareness of the delegate math is almost assuredly better than none, you really need a detail-oriented approach to come to proper conclusions about this kind of question. For instance, you need to know that Texas’s delegate allocation is quite proportional, while New Jersey’s is strictly winner-take-all based on the statewide vote, while California is mostly winner-take-all by Congressional district. And most states have some kind of twist in their rules — proportional states can become winner-take-all if candidates meet (or their opponents fail to achieve) certain vote thresholds.

 

(click here to continue reading FiveThirtyEight: Why Illinois May be a ‘Must Win’ for Santorum – NYTimes.com.)

Footnotes:
  1. actually the Chicago flag, not Illinois flag, which I don’t seem to have taken a photo of []

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