Poll finds Romney up 15 points, headed for Illinois 'blowout' win

A new poll says Mitt Romney is "headed for a blowout victory" in the Illinois primary on Tuesday. 

According to a Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey released on Monday, Romney leads the Republican presidential field in Illinois with 45 percent of the vote, followed by Rick Santorum with 30 percent, Newt Gingrich at 12 percent and Ron Paul at 10 percent support.

Broken down by voters who live in urban, suburban and rural areas, PPP found that Romney leads among voters in suburban and urban areas and also in rural areas, where he bests Santorum by 38 percent to 36, among a constituency the former Pennsylvania senator was hoping to dominate. 

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The poll's findings conflict with a number of reports that showed that Romney faced a tough fight in the primary, given a rightward shift by Illinois Republican voters. Both The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal published reports Monday saying the race appeared to be closer than usual in a state that traditionally went for centrist Republican candidates. 

The focus by the GOP field going into the primary has largely centered on economic issues. Both Romney's and Santorum's campaigns have focused their attacks on economic policies, straying from social issues such as contraception. A recent Romney campaign ad labeled Santorum an "economic lightweight," while a pro-Santorum super-PAC, the Red, White and Blue Fund, charged that Romney saddled Massachusetts with a billion dollars of debt when he left the state's governorship. 

The PPP poll was taken from March 17 to 18 and surveyed 506 likely Republican voters. It had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.