Mitt Romney defeated Rick Santorum in the Illinois presidential primary yesterday by winning a majority of votes in metropolitan Chicago, easily overcoming his deficit in more culturally conservative and sparsely populated areas farther from the city.
Chicago (5 percent of statewide vote): Romney won by 55 percent to 25 percent in the nation’s third most-populous city, which is a force in Democratic primaries but not in Republican contests.
Suburban Cook County (16 percent): Romney beat Santorum by 57 percent to 27 percent in the portion of Cook County outside Chicago. New Trier Township, which includes the wealthy communities of Wilmette and Winnetka in northeastern Cook, gave Romney 77 percent of the vote, tops among the 30 townships.
Collar Counties (31 percent): Romney won by 52 percent to 30 percent in the five counties that abut Cook — DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will. Romney’s percentages ranged from 47 percent in McHenry to 56 percent in Lake.
Rest of state (47 percent): Santorum beat Romney by 42 percent to 38 percent in what is known as “downstate” Illinois. Many of these areas are more Southern than Midwestern in their political and cultural orientation. Santorum won 62 percent in Alexander County, a sparsely populated area in far southern Illinois that is as close to Jackson, Mississippi, or Birmingham, Alabama, as it is to Chicago.
Still, Santorum’s wins in lightly populated counties didn’t come close to overcoming Romney’s dominance in the Chicago suburbs. And Romney beat Santorum in some more populous downstate counties, including by more than 10 points in Sangamon County, which includes the state capital of Springfield, and in Macon County, which takes in Decatur.