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Ahead Of Another 'Key' Primary, Romney Leads Illinois Polls

This week the action in the race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination is in Illinois, which holds its primary Tuesday.

In advance of that contest, Public Policy Polling is out with a new survey that it says shows "Mitt Romney is headed for a blowout victory." It has the former Massachusetts governor ahead of former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum 45 percent to 30 percent (with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Rep. Ron Paul trailing far behind).

The firm surveyed 506 "likely Republican primary voters" in Illinois on Saturday and Sunday, and says its results have a margin of error of +/- 4.4 percentage points. By the way, North Carolina Public Radio's Jessica Jones profiled PPP for All Things Considered last week. It has become "one of the most prolific polling outfits in the country" and has built a "reputation for predictive accuracy."

Other recent polls in the state have also given Romney a lead, as Real Clear Politics' table shows.

There are 69 Republican delegates at stake in Illinois. And as has happened every time there's a contest, pundits are saying it's a critical day for Romney (who could use another win to help make the case that he's the inevitable nominee) and Santorum (who if he wins would renew questions about the strength of Romney's lead).

Our friends at It's All Politics follow the campaign's ups and downs.

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