WASHINGTON - Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney may be headed for an important victory in Illinois on Tuesday that would help him put more distance between himself and Rick Santorum, his chief rival for the Republican presidential nomination.
A new poll by Public Policy Polling said Romney leads the conservative Santorum by 45 percent to 30 percent in Illinois. Former US House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich had 12 percent and libertarian Congressman Ron Paul, 10 percent.
Romney, who has struggled to put away Santorum, leads the former Pennsylvania senator in the race for the 1,144 delegates needed to win the Republican presidential nomination. He has 518 delegates to Santorum's 239, according to CNN.