And looking at the calendar and the resources available to Romney and Santorum, it’s just irrational to deny Romney’s got this wrapped up. It comes down to the delegate math: Despite his various missteps, Romney has been steadily winning a majority of the delegates awarded. According to CNN’s reasonable count, Romney went into Illinois with 521 delegates, out of the 966 awarded. Romney needs 1,144 delegates—an absolute majority of those who will vote at the Convention in late August—to decisively clinch the nomination.
And the upcoming contests don’t give Santorum a chance to catch up, or to prevent Romney from reaching the magic number. Last week, the wizards at Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball looked at the contests pending through the end of April: Their “guesstimate” of the most likely delegate split in this series was Romney 268, Santorum 117—and this was conceding Louisiana and Pennsylvania wins to Santorum. Looking at the other states—D.C., Maryland, Delaware, Connecticut, Wisconsin, New York, and Rhode Island)—it’s hard to think of a scenario where Santorum could win significantly more than the lopsided minority Sabato suggests. Taking that into account, April could put Romney so close to the magic number of 1,144 delegates that the rest of the race would be a formality.